Kraków Avant-garde

Kraków Avant-garde, also known as the First Avant-garde – group of poets (Julian Przyboś, Jan Brzękowski, Jalu Kurek, and Tadeusz Peiper) associated with the Kraków-based Zwrotnica periodical in the years 1922–1927; the creator of the group’s manifesto and its main theoretician was Tadeusz Peiper; further history of the group is connected primarily with the activity of Kurek (editor of the Kraków-based Linia periodical) and its Łódź branch. The Kraków Avant-garde sought to merge artistic creativity with the 20th-century urban and technological civilization. The group formulated the ideal of rigorously disciplined poetry, constituting a deliberate intellectual and linguistic construction. The direct expression of lyrical confession was set off against the principle of expressing sensations and reflections through poetic equivalents and pseudonyms; special importance was given to metaphor based on distant conceptual association, dynamisation and condensation of style (use of ellipsis), functionally differentiated rhythm, and distant rhymes. Setting themselves apart from the tradition of the Young Poland (Młoda Polska) movement, the artists of the Avant-garde also opposed – despite various similarities – the aspirations represented at the time by Futurism, Expressionism, and the Skamander poet group. Harshly castigated by the majority of critics and struggling to reach a wider audience, the Kraków Avant-garde did not exert major influence on trends in interwar poetry (Second Avant-garde), mainly inspiring poetic circles centred around Józef Czechowicz in Lublin (Reflektor), Vilnius (Żagary), and Warsaw. Over time, its basic ideas, developed and modified primarily by Przyboś, were assimilated by different, often divergent tendencies in the Polish contemporary lyric poetry.


  • J. Sławiński Koncepcja języka poetyckiego Awangardy Krakowskiej, Wrocław 1965;
  • Materiały do dziejów awangardy, Archiwum Literackie vol. 20, ed. T. Kłak, Wrocław 1975;
  • Źródła do historii awangardy, Archiwum Literackie vol. 24, ed. T. Kłak, Wrocław 1981;
  • A.K. Waśkiewicz W kręgu „Zwrotnicy”. Studia i szkice z dziejów krakowskiej awangardy, Kraków 1983.

The entry was written on the basis of source materials of the PWN printing house.


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