Adam Zagajewski is a Polish poet and the author of twelve volumes of verse, seven of which have been translated into English. His essay Slight Exaggeration will be published in English in April. (November 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Some Advice for the New Government

We have a new government. Our new government includes many gifted ministers. One of our ministers speaks English. Our new government has set to work energetically. Unfortunately, it is less than aggressive in a situation permitting so many unregenerate liberals to persist: in some cities they even outnumber traditional Catholic …

Ruth

In memory of Ruth Buczyńska She survived the war in Tarnopol. In darkness and semi-darkness. In fear. She was afraid of rats and heavy boots, loud conversations, screams. She died just now, in darkness, in a hospital ward’s white quiet. She was a Jew. Sometimes she didn’t …

Two Poems by Adam Zagajewski

SELF-PORTRAIT IN A LITTLE MUSEUM A swarthy Christ watched me from small trecento paintings; I didn’t understand his gaze, but I wanted to open up before it. A rapt, darked-haired Christ, unswervingly attentive, bounded by Byzantium’s gold frame, watched me while my …

Was it

Was it worth waiting in consulates for some clerk’s fleeting good humor and waiting at the station for a late train, seeing Etna in its Japanese cloak and Paris at dawn, as Haussmann’s conventional caryatids came looming from the dark, entering cheap restaurants …

Subject: Brodsky

Please note: born in May, in a damp city (hence the motif: water), soon to be surrounded by an army whose officers kept Hölderlin in their knapsacks, but alas, they had no time for reading. Too much to do.   Tone—sardonic, despair—authentic.

Reading Milosz

I read your poetry once more, poems written by a rich man, understanding all, and by a pauper, homeless, an emigrant, alone. You always want to say more than we can, to transcend poetry, take flight, but also to descend, to penetrate …

On Czeslaw Milosz (1911–2004)

REASON AND ROSES The following essay was written as a review of the Polish edition of Czeslaw Milosz’s collection This, published in 2000. The poems in This appear in English translation in New and Collected Poems: 1931–2001, published in 2001. Adam Zagajewski’s essay will appear in his A Defense of …