I would rank Ficowski’s Moje strony świata alongside Herbert’s Hermes, pies i gwiazda, also published in 1957, a prolific year for poets.
The property that Sandauer would call “peripherality”, and which he discovered in Białoszewski’s writing, also plays an important part here [in Moje strony świata J.F.]. This similarity of otherwise so dissimilar poets has something peculiar, and yet almost regular about it: there, in a tiny room or apartment, amidst tightly packed furniture, was the last stand of man and poetry.
I looked up to him [my father], he helped me solve problems. I would turn to him in matters of exceptional necessity. My father’s lifestyle and reluctance to impose would create a sort of barrier between him and other people, even his son. I sensed that he suffered because no one had the courage to approach him. My father was my teacher in many fields, but always in the spiritual and intellectual sphere. He was not adapted to fighting for survival in everyday life; he found it hard to accept the practical side of the surrounding reality. Though father read my first poems, it was my sister who told me that he liked them. Thanks to that I started to have a little confidence in myself. He was not aware and never found out how important his opinion was for me.
But you should know that, before […] I developed any interest in literature, I was interested only in entomology! […] There is a mysterious link between Leśmian and entomology. Znikomek, Śnigrobek and Srebroń are all cousins of bumble bees and various beetles, which also appear in his poems. Leśmian’s creations are akin to God’s creations, they are similar species, related even by name. I don’t know which Leśmian it was that once bustled around Polish entomology and gave butterflies and moths such homely sounding names. These are all neologisms in the spirit of Leśmian: zmrocznik, nastrosz, zmierzchnica, powszelatka, przegibek, zasmutek, marzymłódka, pokłonnik… And Leśmian himself, with his poetic name, is a member of this family.
Jerzy Ficowski is one of the greatest poets of contemporary time. […] The Polish literary world has only recently realised what a person, what an outstanding poet, what a crucial writer and how vital Jerzy Ficowski is to it. His presence in Polish poetry – and something like this can only be said about the greatest ones – will only grow. Understanding our modern spirituality will prove to be impossible without fuller understanding of his entire work. I think that his appeal on young people will also grow, and that Jerzy Ficowski’s poetic language will turn out to be one of the most important call signs in the time to come.
Although texts about Gypsies had been written in Poland earlier, Ficowski was first to find the way into their community. Thanks to this, he was able to go beyond the stereotypical context of campfires, fortune tellers and bar musicians, to honestly describe their everyday life, their relationships between a man and a woman. He showed them not as a mysterious peculiarity, but a different culture whose rules can be comprehended, especially with the rich historical knowledge he had. He was able to place the Gypsies’ distinctiveness in the context of the region’s history. Ficowski also dealt with the Gypsy Holocaust, a topic conveniently forgotten by everyone else. He translated the inscription from the obelisk in Auschwitz into Romani, depicted their martyrdom, which did not only come down to death camps, but also to various random places of execution. Another huge merit of his is championing of Papusza, an ordinary caravan woman with an enormous poetic sensitivity. […] A student who does not know his work would not pass the test with me.