On November 30th, Marek Kusiba, a Polish and Canadian poet and journalist, visited the Canadian Studies Centre at the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures. During the open meeting with students entitled “Otherness in the Canadian Context”, Mr Kusiba talked about the life of a poet thousands of kilometres away from home, his affiliation to the motherland and the country of residence, as well as his friendship with Ryszard Kapusciński.
Addressing the issue of emigration, Mr Kusiba shared with students his own experience, as well as his thoughts concerning Polish writers who created their works outside their homeland – Adam Mickiewicz, Jan Lechoń, and Wacław Iwaniuk among others. The students attending the meeting were highly interested in how Mr Kusiba negotiated his bonds with Poland and Canada. Answering this question, Mr Kusiba explained that living in Canada and speaking English had enriched his mother tongue and his way of writing. He clarified that for him, English is the language of thoughts, whereas Polish is the language of feelings. Moreover, as he stated, the number of travels he had made, people he had met, and the influence of Ryszard Kapuściński, showed him that a writer should be open for and sensitive to other people and various cultures. For by travelling alone one experiences more, as per the words of Witold Gombrowicz: “Because I am alone, I am more.” Mr Kusiba has been experiencing the “exile” from his motherland, however, he does not treat it like a curse – for him, travel is a blessing, and distance is a friend. The concluding statement of the meeting can be found in words of Stefan Themerson, quoted by Mr Kusiba: “every writer, ever, everywhere is in exile”.
The meeting was organised by Canadian Studies Centre and Canadian Studies Student Circle