Reading Milosz

By Adam Zagajewski b. 1945 Adam Zagajewski
I read your poetry once more,
poems written by a rich man, knowing all,
and by a beggar, homeless,
an emigrant, alone.

You always wanted to go
beyond poetry, above it, soaring,
but also lower, to where our region
begins, modest and timid.

Sometimes your tone
transforms us for a moment,
we believe—truly—
that every day is sacred,

that poetry—how to put it? —
makes life rounder,
fuller, prouder, unashamed
of perfect formulation.

But evening arrives,
I lay my book aside,
and the city's ordinary din resumes—
somebody coughs, someone cries and curses.

Adam Zagajewski, "Reading Milosz" from Eternal Enemies. Copyright © 2008 by Adam Zagajewski. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved.

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Source: Eternal Enemies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)

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Poet Adam Zagajewski b. 1945

POET’S REGION Poland

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books, Relationships, Friends & Enemies

Poetic Terms Quatrain

 Adam  Zagajewski

Biography

Adam Zagajewski was born in Lvov, Poland, in 1945; as an infant he was relocated with his family to western Poland. He lived in Berlin for a couple of years, moved to France in 1982, and has taught at universities in the United States, including the University of Houston and the University of Chicago. Zagajewski writes in Polish; many of his books of poetry and essays have been translated into English.

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets, Reading & Books, Relationships, Friends & Enemies

POET’S REGION Poland

Poetic Terms Quatrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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