One of the most divisive, exciting and important of Manx poets can now be heard again; marking what would have been the 66th birthday of Paul Lebiedzinski, his recordings are being released online.
Paul Lebiedzinski, son of a Polish Air Force pilot stationed at Jurby, was born and raised in Ramsey amongst his Manx family and community. By the 1970s, then in his 20s, Lebiedzinski had settled into the day-job as a gardener, but in the evenings he gained a legendary reputation for his thrilling performances of poetry in pubs and gatherings around the Island.
It is some of these recordings, made between 1975 and 1988, which have now been made freely available by Culture Vannin. The album entitled 'Six Foot Under' was previously only available in a rare cassette tape.
"This poetry represents a unique and brilliant voice in Manx literature," says James Franklin, Online and Educational Resources Officer at Culture Vannin.
"Paul Lebiedzinski's work has the power to generate an enormous amount of debate and inspiration today, decades after it was first performed. These recordings becoming available is an important event in the literary and cultural landscape of the Island."
Some of his best loved poems, such as 'Lambfell Chapel', are tender reflections on lost ways of life in the Isle of Man. But Lebiedzinski was perhaps better known for the political side to his work. Always ready to have fun with the confronting of authority, there was no mistaking his tireless voice of outrage against political policies of the 1970s and 80s.
"The political message of poems like 'Lament for the Manx Homeless' or 'A Come-Over's Epitaph' can still shock today. But, independently of the content, the distinct force of Lebiedzinski's poetry is important. The humour, satire and power of his writing is something which is important for people to be able to hear again."
"His is a voice which needs to be heard by the next generation of Manx poets."
A short film has also been created to accompany the re-issue of 'Six Foot Under'. Created by the young Manx film director Samuel Hurt, it is hoped that many will be inspired to find out more about Lebiedzinski's work through the film inspired by the poem 'Thatching Down South.'
Paul Lebiedzinski died at the age of only 41 in 1995 and many will welcome access to his work again. His work is avaible through the Arts council Website here.