Jaś Kapela

Portrait Jaś Kapela
© Hartwig Klappert

Jaś Kapela was born in 1984 as Jan Kapela, the son of the Catholic activist Teresa Kapela, who, as a co-founder of the association »Trzy Plus« (tr. Three Plus), campaigns for the rights of extended families in Poland.

Jaś Kapela had his literary debut in 2005 with the poetry volume »Reklama« (tr. Advertising); critics praised it for its innovative choice of words and called it the new standard for young Polish poetry. Another poetic work followed in 2007, »Życie na gorąco« (tr. Life in the Heat), which once again displayed Kapela’s ironic distance to his own artistic work and also continued his interest in letting lines plunge in one moment from the holy to the profane, thereby tripping up the reader. Kapela gathered his first experiences as a poet in Slam Poetry contests (winning the first such event staged in Poland); this is evident not only in the directness of his poems and his eschewing of metaphors that unnecessarily complicate the message, but also in his many references to pop culture. With »Stosunek seksualny nie istnieje« (2008; tr. Sexual Intercourse Does Not Exist), the young Polish author published his first story. It is a tale about two students trying to find a girl, without success until one of them consumes hallucinogenic mushrooms and resolves to let life be life and to become a writer. One critic honored the book with the remark that the French star author Michel Houellebecq would probably write just like Kapela, if he were also 24 years old and had a sense of humor. Another reviewer saw in Kapela’s work a postmodern version of the novel »Ferydurke« (1937) by the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz – an artistic and philosophical excursion in search of the fitting form for still unripened developments called forth by our accelerated society. Kapela’s second story »Janusz Hrystus« (tr: Janus Hrist) appeared in 2010; its protagonist wants to save the world, but first confronts the problem of mustering enough will to leave his house. He sinks into an egocentric, nihilistic stream of consciousness to develop a plan to solve his problems once and for all. Most recently, as a member of the initiative »Krytyka Polityczna« (tr. Political Criticism) and editor of its online magazine »Dziennik Opinii« (tr. Official Statement), Kapela published the collection of essays »Jak odebrałem dzieci Terlikowskiemu« (2011; tr. How I Picked Up My Children from Terlikowski) and his third novel »Dobry Troll« (2015; tr: Dear Troll).

In 2013, the young author took part in the »Live Green« pro-sustainability campaign organized by the Green Cross in Poland. Jaś Kapela lives in Warsaw.