Waterloo_Maria Jastrzebska cover_1Maria Jastrzębska’s Everyday Angels leaves you to ‘expect only light’ from the marginal figures portrayed in the title poem and casting arresting shadows of narrative attention: paraffin stoves, parcels crossing borders, the everyday things thronging this powerful second collection of a poet transcribing from the fissure of Polish and English, translations of language and objects; and from one consciousness, one history, to another’s. Memorial and family – even familiar – poems frame Jastrzębska’s theme. Nothing is taken for granted as she scores her adoptive English with the memory of a Polish mother-tongue. This renders her almost unique in English. Only abroad, with those untrustworthy continentals and their borders, could one encounter such mutedly thrilling disquiet.

Lee Harwood:

“Everyday Angels is a book filled with stories, such great vivid stories that span many worlds, that of Poland and Britain, and those places where they overlap in the past and present.

Jastrzębska’s poems have the beauty and warmth and rhythm of natural speech.  A language that takes me directly into the poems.  She has a “good ear” and it serves her well.  Moving, precise scenes and portraits bring a sense of true history. Tenderness and affection, grief and pain, duties and debts between generations, between us humans.  Most of all, the poems show a deep respect for and fascination with people with all their faults and virtues and their marvels.”

 

Jackie Wills:

“Maria’s Jastrzębska’s poetry explores major concerns of our age – exile, dementia and sexuality. She records the resilience of parents forced to leave their country, giving the places, people and rituals they left a shimmering, out-of-reach quality. This estrangement is embedded in language rich with names and phrases, always on the seam of the surreal.   A mother at different stages of her life, but in particular, fractured by dementia, girls on a bus, lovers, aunts –  Jastrzębska’s writing is knowing and humane. This [Everyday Angels] is an uplifting collection.”