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White Magic and Other Poems
by Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski
translated by Bill Johnston
Green Integer, January 2004

Born in Warsaw in 1921, Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski was the only child of parents who were writers and critics, Baczynski graduated from high school in the summer of 1939, he planned to study Polish at the University of Warsaw, but on September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland, and soon afterward Warsaw was occupied.
Through the increasing hardships and violence of the occupation, Baczynski continued to write prolifically, and began publishing in small underground editions. In June 1942 he married Barbara (Basia) Drapczynska, who was even younger than he; together they studied Polish literature in the underground university.

In June 1943 Baczynski made a momentous decision to join the resistance, and began taking part in exercises.

At the beginning of August 1944, the Warsaw Uprising broke out. Baczynski was involved in one of the first actions. He was shot and killed in battle on August 4, 1944, at the age of 23. He remains Poland's perhaps most beloved "young poet", and is generally regarded as one of its greatest.
Translator Bill Johnston is a professor at the Institute of Linguistics and Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota.