Saturday, May 30, 2009

Adam Zagajewski

Zagajewski was not shaped by Stalinist horrors and the Holocaust, as a previous generation was. His story is formed against the backdrop of the grinding monotony of Soviet-bloc schooling, "socialist realism," enforced Russian and relentless mediocrity.

And yet ... the consequence of this Soviet monochrome curiously resembles the fallout of American capitalism and consumerism. Zagajewski's spiritual longings are wistful and vague -- he refers to "higher reality" and "yearning for eternity."

--Cynthia L. Haven, A poet's cry for strength of heart and soul, San Francisco Chronicle, November 28, 2004, review of A Defense of Ardor, by Adam Zagajewski, translated by Clare Cavanagh

Recommended reading:
by Adam Zagajewski at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

he emerged in the New Wave of Polish poets in the 1960s, writing raw, stripped-down verse that implicitly and sometimes overtly challenged the totalitarian political establishment of his seedtime. Zagajewski later reinvented himself, employing the first-person perspective of traditional lyric poetry, a shift that has been criticized by some as abandoning the earlier commitments. --David Skeel, On the Road: With the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, Books & Culture, November/December 2008

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