March 28, 05

Vol. 20 , No. 10   


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The Poet Reads from His Work
ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2005

Adam Zagajewski is one of the great poets writing today. In October 1945, when he was four months old, Zagajewski's family was forced to move from their beloved native city of Lovov to the industrial and, until then, German city of Gliwice, Poland. He later moved to Krakow, where he was graduated from the Jagellonian University. Passionately opposed to the ruling Communist regime, Zagajewski was the best-known figure of the in the "Generation of 1968," a group of dissident young poets. He continued to rage against the government until the late 1970s, when he largely abandoned defiant political poetry for more lyrical and meditative verse.

In 1982 he moved to Paris, where his mature work flowered, and he produced work that explored the relationship of the indvidual and history, reality, and art. "Seldom has the muse of poetry spoken to anyone with such clarity and urgency," wrote Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky, "as in Zagjewski's case." His collections of poems in English include Tremor (1985), Canvas (1991), Mysticism for Beginners (1997), and Without End (2002). A pioneer of the modern prose poem, Zagajewski's collections of essays include Two Cities (1995) and Another Beauty (2000). He was awarded the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2004, and teaches half the year at the University of Houston.