Adam Zagajewski’s most recent book is Unseen Hand:
Poems. (August 2014)

IN THE REVIEW

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 …

Our World

I never met him, I only knew his books and the odd photos, as if picked up in a secondhand shop, and human fates found in a secondhand shop, and a voice quietly narrating, a gaze that took in so much, a gaze turned …