Born in Sankt Valentin (Lower Austria), Ryszard Krynicki is a poet, translator, publisher and one of the most important contemporary Polish poets. He is regarded as belonging to the "Generation of ‘68," poets whose careers were accompanied at the start by the political events of March, 1968, and December, 1970. In 1975, he was a signatory of the "Protest of 59" against proposed changes to the Polish constitution. He associated himself with the opposition and engaged in clandestine political activity; as a result, he was banned from official publication from 1976 to 1980. Nonetheless, in 1976, he was awarded the Koscielski Prize. In 1988, he founded a5 publishing house, which focuses on contemporary Polish poetry, including the works of Wislawa Szymborska. He has translated German writers such as Brecht, Gottfried Benn, Paul Celan and Reiner Kunze, and after spending most of his life in Poznan, he now lives in Cracow.
His first poems were characterized by an abundance of poetic devices and an accumulation of images. The world was depicted as hostile and threatening, and reality as a nightmare of chaos, emptiness and nothingness. The lives of the protagonists in the poems were characterized by ignorance, a feeling of having been "expelled" from an incomprehensible reality, by means of spasmodic episodes of escape. This oppressive vision could be interpreted in political as well as ethical or metaphysical terms. An important element in Krynicki's poetry at the time was the way it concentrated on language in order to discern the falsehoods perpetrated in language by the totalitarian ideology. The goal was to escape from the lies of communist "new-speak". Then at a certain point, Krynicki's verse underwent a spectacular transformation. The dense, baroque poems were replaced by ascetic forms only a few lines long. Escape, as one critic saw it, was replaced by a determined spiritual pilgrimage. Krynicki's poetry grew according to an imperative of internal self-perfection, cleansing the world of falsehood, and refusing to submit to various concepts of nothingness. The miniature verses were intended not so much as works of art that would amaze readers, but rather as vehicles and spaces for contemplation and empathy with the world. Characteristically, Krynicki began going back to his own earlier poems and printing them in variant versions, sometimes quite numerous, on the assumption that a poem is never something closed and capable of existing by itself, but is rather a voice constantly speaking anew, evolving, a step on the road to the greatest simplicity and comprehensibility.
- Pęd pogoni, pęd ucieczki, Warszawa, Poznań: ZSP, 1968.
- Akt urodzenia, Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1969.
- Drugi projekt organizmu zbiorowego, "Nowy Wyraz", 1973 nr 9.
- Organizm zbiorowy, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1975.
- Nasze życie rośnie. Wiersze, Paryż: Instytut Literacki, Paryż ,1978.
- Niewiele więcej. Wiersze z notatnika 78-79, Kraków: Krakowska Oficyna Studentów, 1981.
- Jeżeli w jakimś kraju, b.m.w, 1982.
- Ocalenie z nicości, Kraków: Świt, 1983.
- Niepodlegli nicości (wybrane i poprawione wiersze i przekłady), Warszawa: NOWA, 1988.
- Magnetyczny punkt. Wybrane wiersze i przekłady, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo CiS, 1996.
- Kamień, szron, Kraków: Wydawnictwo a5, 2005.
- Wiersze wybrane, Kraków: Wydawnictwo a5, 2009.
- Przekreślony początek, Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2013.
- Haiku. Haiku mistrzów, Kraków: Wydawnictwo a5, 2014.
- Pęd pogoni, pęd ucieczki, Stronie Śląskie: Biuro Literackie, 2016.
- Dakranicca [Wiersze wybrane], trans. Andrzej Chadanowicz, Mińsk: Afarmliennie, 2013
- Kamień, szron, trans. Wera Dejanova, Sofia: Stigmati, 2011
- Magnetický bod [Magnetyczny punkt], trans. Lenka Daňhelová, Ostrava: Protimluv, 2010
- Um niemanden zu verletzen. Gedichte aus Notizbüchern, Neu: Isenburg: Edition Tiessen, 1991.
- Wunde der Wahrheit. Gedichte, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1991.
- w antologiach: Panorama der polnischen Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts, Zürich: Ammann, 1997.
- Polnische Lyrik aus 100 Jahren, Gifkendorf: Merlin, 1997.
- Stein aus der Neuen Welt, trans. Esther Kinsky, Hamburg: Rospo, 2000
- Il punto magnetico [Magnetyczny punkt], trans. Francesca Fornari, Udine: Forum, 2011
- Magnetický bod [Niepodlegli nicości; Magnetyczny punkt], Bratysława: Drewo a Srd, 2002.
- in anthology: 101 (6 poetas polacos contemporáneos), trans. Mauricio Barrientos, Maciej Ziętara, Santiago de Chile: RiL editores, 2008