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Thread: Adam Zagajewski

  1. #1
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    Poland Adam Zagajewski

    Adam Zagajewski is a Polist poet, born in 1945.

    I know absolutely nothing about him, except that his name often shows up in connection with Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert.

    I just ordered Eternal Enemies.

    Anyone know his work?

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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    I read Zagajewski's Eternal Enemies more than half-a-year ago now because of his name popping up around the Nobel Prize discussions. I really liked the whole thing. He has a straightforward style which seems to imitate poetic sparseness at times. I remember being very impressed by his descriptions of music. Good stuff, if the rest of his work is as strong as Eternal Enemies was then he's definitely Nobel material.
    Last edited by JTolle; 04-Aug-2010 at 03:17.

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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Yes, his sparseness appeals to me. I think good poems should be economical and precise with words.

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    Poland Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Adam Zagajewski is considered one of the greatest poets in Poland right now. His name appears together with Szymborska, R?żewicz, Herbert, Miłosz. From what I've read he has also been among candidats for Nobel prize for a couple of years now. Who knows...maybe one day. I remember reading him a while ago and some of his poems really stuck with me. I think I should get my hands on some of his books again.

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    Poland Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Pesahson: I hope that Zagajewski, or someone equally worthy, wins the Nobel one day. But why should the winner be Zagajewski? The "greatest poets" ploy is becoming rather phoney, as it seems or imply: the greatest poet who happens to come from our particular country.

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    Ireland Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    The "greatest poets" ploy is becoming rather phoney
    Personally, I think Cathal O Searcaigh ought to win it, although I'm not sure if it's going to happen. Everything about him screams faggot, pedo, sexual abuser, etc.

    Don't know the details, but he was accused of having sex with very young men in Nepal, to which he travels quite often (having adopted a young Nepalese man as his son or some such thing), some of whom may have been underage. He's never hidden it from anyone though; I think the "candid camera"-style documentary The Fairytale of Kathmandu focuses and exposes all of it to those who "wish to know more."

    But back to the subject of this thread: I just ordered two books by Zagajewski from the library, and I think that this poet's style will appeal to me enormously.

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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Balance

    I watched the arctic landscape from above
    and thought of nothing, lovely nothing.
    I observed white canopies of clouds, vast
    expanses where no wolf tracks could be found.

    I thought about you and about the emptiness
    that can promise one thing only: plenitude—
    and that a certain sort of snowy wasteland
    bursts from a surfeit of happiness.

    As we drew closer to our landing,
    the vulnerable earth emerged among the clouds,
    comic gardens forgotten by their owners,
    pale grass plagued by winter and the wind.

    I put my book down and for an instant felt
    a perfect balance between waking and dreams.
    But when the plane touched concrete, then
    assiduously circled the airport's labryinth,

    I once again knew nothing. The darkness
    of daily wanderings resumed, the day's sweet darkness,
    the darkness of the voice that counts and measures,
    remembers and forgets.

    - Translated by Clare Cavanagh

    Really, I can't wait to get Eternal Enemies.

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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    I know there are a couple of fans of Zagajewski on the forum, so it may please you to find out the paperback edition of Unseen Hand is coming out June, 2012. I've been waiting for this for some time now.

    And here's an article with a curious passage:

    In his recent work, Zagajewski has turned noticeably inward. Perhaps that’s a symptom of age, or a response to the rise of a boring, almost normal Poland. This shift hasn’t been fertile ground for artists who in the communist years had grown accustomed to being, in Zagajewski’s words, “a special antigovernment force.” Many of his friends, he says, found the “move from a freedom fighter to a marginal figure of an artist” difficult. For his part, Zagajewski notes wryly that “I cherish the free democratic country so much that I agree to pay this price.”

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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    I walked past Adam Zagajewski the other day in the street in Kraków. It made me want to read him again.
    I wanted to post some poems by him in this thread but instead I found this:


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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Good find.

    I'm thinking of ordering Unseen Hand in August, after I come from vacations. I haven't read Zagajewski in a while.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    I'm in the MFA at Columbia University and Zagajewski gave a reading tonight. A really warm person, and, maybe more importantly for reading his work, has an incredible dry humour that animates everything he says.

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    Default Re: Adam Zagajewski

    Don't know why it took me so long to finally read Zagajewski but I'm exultant I finally did. I just finished a book of poems from the mid-90's translated as Land of Fire and I find his poetry absolutely outstanding, limpid, marvellous.
    I will immediately start another of his books, Desire, which I found chronologically follows the one I read (late-90's) this time.

    I finally got to read him because this year, he won the Premio Princesa de Asturias. As someone mentioned it at the Nobel Prize thread, this is the importance of literary prizes, that it finally gives the push to many readers who had previously planned to read him but for some reasons hadn't.

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