KAROLINA ZAPAL is an itinerant poet, essayist, translator, and author of two books: Notes for Mid-Birth (Inside the Castle, 2019) and Polalka (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018). As an immigrant and activist writer, she writes frequently about her native Poland, languages, and women’s rights. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Inverted Syntax, The Seventh Wave, and others. Her co-translations of Halina Poświatowska's poetry into English have been published in FENCE, Cordite Poetry Review, and ANMLY and won table//FEAST journal's inaugural translation prize. She has completed three artist residencies: Greywood Arts in Killeagh, Ireland; Brashnar Creative Project in Skopje, Macedonia; and Bridge Guard in Štúrovo, Slovakia. She works at the Massachusetts Center for the Book.

Recent Work


Figure 1

Ethics of Sexual Attraction

My seduction routine involves telling men I hate
the words “cute” and “fun”
They like a challenge
even of language


Adi Magazine

Giving Birth, Giving Death

The prayers were unfinished, like she was, and what is sent unfinished to heaven—a life—becomes sacred in its mystery.



3 poems by Halina Poświatowska, tr. from the Polish

who with a gentle hand
stroke their bears' unshaven chins

who mutter lying down
existing out of habit

kind wives
who herd dreams
on tiptote
who drive away snakes
coiled at the foot of the bed