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Tom 61 (2022)

„Poezje polsko-amerykańskie” Pawła Gawrzyjelskiego (1882)

  • Aleksandra Budrewicz
13 lutego 2023


The article is devoted to the literary achievement of Paweł Gawrzyjelski (1844?–1889), the author of a volume of poetry Odgłos z za morza. Poezye polsko-amerykańskie [Sounds from overseas. Polish-American poems] (Chicago 1882). This collection discusses some questions related to psychological and ethical problems of the Polish people in the USA in the 19th century. The content of the volume is presented in the context of other poetry published in “Gazeta Polska w Chicago” [Polish Daily in Chicago] between 1870 and 1890 (this is where Gawrzyjelski’s work was published for the first time). “Gazeta” emphasized the importance of Polish history and hopes for regaining independence. The Polish diaspora was expected to support this cause. Gawrzyjelski’s poetry stands out as he depicted a situation of an expat who will never go back to his homeland. He found it difficult to settle down in the USA; he expressed longing for Poland and could not accept the materialistic approach to life prevalent among Americans in his time. Gawrzyjelski’s pessimism and neurasthenia have likely contributed to his suicide.