Andrzei Bursa werd geboren op 21 maart 1932 te Krakau. Hij studeerde Journalistiek en Bulgaars aan de Jagellon universiteit in zijn geboortestad. Na zijn studies was hij werkzaam als journalist voor de Krakause krant Dziennik Polski.
Hij publiceerde zijn eerste gedicht in 1954. Gedurende zijn leven publiceerde hij 37 gedichten en een enkel kort verhaal in verschillende tijdschriften.
Hij overleed op 15 november 1957 aan een hartaanval. Hoewel er altijd verhalen zijn geweest, die dit in twijfel trekken en het op zelfmoord houden. Ten eerste omdat men kijkende naar het werk Bursa bijna vanzelfsprekend tot die conclusie zou komen, en ten tweede aangezien zelfmoord in het zeer katholieke Polen van de jaren vijftig een meer dan groot taboe was en door vele families doodgezwegen werd.
Kort na zijn overlijden verscheen zijn eerste poezie bundel. Tevens werd er een belangrijke poolse poezie prijs naar hem vernoemd.
Enkele vertalingen :
Quite A Primitive Syllogism
Free, you ain’t get anything pretty
sunset is free
therefore it is not beautiful
but if one wants to vomit in a posh nightclub
one must pay for one’s vodka
water closet in a discotheque is beautiful
but a sunset is not
well I must tell you that it’s all phony
I have seen a sunset
and a loo in a nightclub
I don’t find any relevant difference
In a sober frame of mind he came to have some business taken care of
but at the first door he got kicked
getting kicked to him seemed quite witty
he tried again
he decided to go up to the next floor
again he was knocked down the stairs by a kick
like a well-behaved dog he waited politely in the hallway
got kicked at the main gate
in the street got kicked again
so at any rate he desired a more poetical death
he flung himself under an automobile
and caught a solid kick from the chauffeur.
“A poet suffers for the millions
From 10 to 1.30
At 11 his bladder is full
He goes out
Unzips his flies
Zips up his flies
Returns to his desk
Clears his throat
Suffers for the millions”
Ha, ha—I'm familiar with this trick. I know that as we play, my chess-pieces will become white-hot. With the third move they already sizzle on contact and char the epidermis. But I play—of course I do.
Check, en garde, check. I lose two knights and a rook, and my fingers smoke like a factory. I try to shift a pawn with my fingernail, but having encountered my partner's ironic glance I desist. After all, my partner is magnanimous.—You'll lose your queen, he warns. Take back that move.
In this way my torture is intensified.
When he takes a second rook, I feel like giving up and putting an end to this idiotic ordeal. But he showed up, didn't he. And so grimacing with pain once again I make some fatal move.—Hee hee, cackles my slow-witted pal.—Just as in life. He can't come up with a better joke. This is the end now. With one last burn I move the king to a place of irrevocable checkmate.
My pal cackles and rakes in his chess set.
At that point I cry:—Now for a re-match.
A Fairy Tale
—Report every hour to my chambers and remind me that in the very near future I have to chop off your head.
And so the man presented himself. At first he took it hard. He pondered the insignificance of existence and the constraints imposed upon the individual, and the dependence on the temperamental whims of a dull-witted bigwig. But then he got used to it. He became a cross for the officials to bear. Tons of work to be done, petitioners faint in line, and yet this man keeps showing up.
—Good day. The Emperor ordered me to remind you that in the near future he has to chop off my head. Goodbye.
And so it went every hour.
Promptly at two minutes to twelve this man burst out of the café called "The Ministerial" (he didn't frequent any others) in order to hastily deliver the little formula. Each Saturday night at eleven o'clock, slightly tottering on his legs after quickly downing a bottle in a bar called "Ambassador's Paradise" (he didn't frequent any other), the man showed up in chambers and announced incoherently:
—The Emperor ordered me to remind...so that…about it...that in the near future he has to chop off my head.
At four in the morning the man hopped off his cot which had been set up in the hallway of the royal chambers (he didn't sleep anywhere else), and in a sleepy voice he awakened the dozing secretary who was on duty:
—The Emperor ordered me... etc.
One day, after twenty years went by, this man happened to encounter the now-elderly Emperor in his chambers.
—And what does this man want? asked the Emperor.
—He reports that Your Excellency has ordered his head to be chopped off, said the secretary.
—Well then chop it off, the Emperor angrily snorted.
And so they chopped it off.
(vertalingen door : Kevin Christianson & Halina Ablamowicz)