Adam Zagajewski

(English) Adam Zagajewski (1945) is a Polish poet, novelist, translator and essayist. In 1982 he emigrated to Paris; returning to Poland in 2002. He now lives in Kraków. His poem Try To Praise The Mutilated World printed in The New Yorker became famous after the September 11 attacks.

A Hand with Marvellous Wings

In the 1960s, as I was embarking on the career of a poet, I brought my poetry to [the Krakow weekly] “Życie Literackie” (what an emotional moment!). Wisława Szymborska was in charge of the poetry section. Following a second visit she accepted one of my poems for print. Later, when we got to know each other well and I reminded her of this story, she’’d say: Adam, I don’’t remember it. In the 1970s I was already a regular at her famous dinners. The conversation was never “literary”’. Poetry was discussed least of all but that came in a later […]

Auschwitz and Mozart. 27 January

January 27. Hard frost, snow. All the vulgar, predictable tricks winter has in store are on display: city life has slowed down and pedestrians get stuck in bothersome snowdrifts. The mind also moves at a slower pace. Winter is a provincial illusionist, who has never mastered more than a single trick: that of turning water into ice and snow and back again, turning snow into dirty water. For a while now – ever since realizing what powerful symbols share this date – I have been intrigued by a day that manages to encapsulate two key dimensions of a historical moment. […]