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Poland's English-language blogosphere

Next month a breathless nation will learn the results of the fifth annual Polish blog awards, known as Blog Roku 2009. Neither Polandian nor any other English-language blog about Poland will be among the winners because rule number 5 states quite emphatically that in order to qualify a blog must be written in Polish. I think this is exceptionally unfair and a little bit stupid. I can understand why the overall winner can’t sensibly be an English-language blog but couldn’t us poor benighted foreigners writing in the language of international communication about our adopted home country at least have our own category?

The English-language blogging community in Poland is small but beautifully formed and accounts for tens or hundreds of thousands of page views a month. Somebody is reading us and it’s not just lonely English teachers. Excuse me while I indulge in a spot of own-trumpet blowing but Polandian is creeping towards a million page views over the two years it has been online. The Beatroot is, I suspect, in the same territory. I’m willing to bet there are not many Polish-language blogs that can boast those kind of numbers. I don’t care about the prizes and I doubt Polandian would win one anyway but it seems perverse that us English-language bloggers are not even allowed in the running.


A graphic representation of Poland’s English-language blogosphere (click for larger version) showing one-way and two-way links (some people are not good at returning links). Polandian is in the center just because that’s where I began clicking links. I’ve excluded commercial sites (such as Anna’s Polish Blog) and those who no longer focus on Poland (such as Expateek) but left in Pinolona because we like her and she might move back to Poland at any moment. There’s a lot of great stuff out there people.

A quick review of notable English-language blogs about Poland:

W-wa Jeziorki
The first time I looked at Michael Dembinski’s blog I was convinced it would be the last time. Why would I want to read about the minutiae of life in a small flat suburb of Warsaw I asked myself? Two years later I never miss a post. Why is it fascinating? I have no idea, but it is.
By the way you have to watch Mr. Dembinski, he starts new blogs without warning. Grey Jumper’d Childhood, a blog about growing up in 1960s England, and Flyingoko, a blog about an Anglo-Pole’s perspective on the UK, have already arrived amongst us.

20 East
Written by my one remaining Polandian stablemate Ian Scattergood. better known as Scatts, 20 east is a shotgun-style personal blog that might at any given moment assault you with tales of misbehaving cats, urban regeneration, or record-breaking bird-watching moments. Fortunately, since Ian is a natural writer, the whole thing remains utterly readable.

Politics, Economy, Society
Written by a more-or-less anonymous Polish student, PES can be a daunting read for the generally attention-deficient blog reader, but it’s worth the effort. The bloke refuses to compromise and will hit you with 2,000 words about Polish corruption if he feels it’s needed. The fact that he makes the effort to do all this in English leaves me in awe.

Our Man in Gdansk
Written by the, presumably, fictitious H. Grodsk Monkey OMG has been going since 2005 and covers every Polish thing under the sun in a pleasantly amusing style. OMG is an older style English-language blog about Poland in that its author remains strictly anonymous despite clearly being involved in Poland’s rather small English-language journalism industry. I find this odd.

The Beatroot
The grandaddy of popular English-language blogging about Poland the author of the Beatroot also scrupulously maintains his anonymity. All we know is that he knows his Polish current affairs and knows how to write about them in an amusing and engaging way. He may also be a vegetable.

There are many others (see the graphic) but I’m out of time this Sunday night.

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