Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki was born in 1962 in Wólka Krowicka, a village near the Polish-Ukrainian border in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. In his homeland the poet has cult status; he has published numerous volumes of poetry and a volume of prose. He also writes for the cultural magazine of the literary group »Kresy«, which he co-founded. His poems have been translated from Polish into nearly every other European language.
Tkaczyszyn-Dycki’s works focus on less central motifs fed by key moments in his life, such as his mother’s schizophrenia and the death of his friend Leszek – death, illness and disintegration, madness and transgression, erotica and homosexual desire are the thematic parentheses encompassing his work and which return in many variations. Even in his first volume, »Nenia i inne wiersze« (1990; tr: »Nenia and Other Poems«) the melding of the worlds of the living and the dead formed a thematic thread. The lyrical narrator sees his mother and her madness as located between the two spheres. While the mother remains a figure on this side, inflated into a »star not quite of earthly understanding«, her illness is transformed in later volumes such as »Przewodnik dla bezdomnych niezależnie od miejsca zamieszkania« (2000; tr: »Guidelines for the Homeless Regardless of Their Address«) into the ultimate metaphor for poetry. The mother’s unending process of dying becomes an image of the tension between speech and speechlessness. Harking back to the tradition of the baroque sonnet, Tkaczyszyn-Dycki’s poems follow a strict formal structure, molded by antinomies and paradoxical sentence constructions. In an idiosyncratic, multifaceted composition of dark and ironical tones, the poet contrasts religious vocabulary with erotic references, fills his poems with philosophical and intertextual references. Set in excluded places like deathbeds, hospitals and cemeteries, seedy bars and railway station toilets, and always in the provinces of eastern Poland, the lyrical narrator in Tkaczyszyn-Dycki’s poems advances into the zones of the unutterable.
Tkaczyszyn-Dycki has received a number of prizes for his work, including the 2009 Gdynia Literature Prize and Poland’s highest literary honor, the Nike Award, for his volume of poems »Piosenka o zależnościach i uzależnieniach« (2008; tr: »The Song About Dependency and Addiction«). His most recently-published volume of poems, »Kochanka Norwida« (2014; tr: Norwid’s Lover), dedicated to the poet’s mother and the dark secrets of his family history, Tkaczyszyn-Dycki was in 2015 once more nominated for the Nike Award. Tkaczyszyn-Dycki lives in Warsaw.