The fifth event in our “Poetry and Politics” series (but unfortunately, only the fourth podcast, as we’ve lost the recording of Andrei Codrescu’s memorable reading on November 2, 2006) features the return of Adam Zagajewski to Boston University. The podcast is a recording of Zagajewski’s March 19, 2007 reading at the Institute for Human Sciences. The event aired on WBUR radio’s “World of Ideas” program on July 29, 2007. We are grateful to WBUR for making the recording available to EU for You.
Adam Zagajewski was born in Lwów, Poland in 1945. He spent his childhood in Silesia and then in Cracow, where he graduated from Jagiellonian University. He first became established as one of the leading poets of the Generation of ’68’ or the Polish New Wave (Nowa Fala). Among his collections in Polish are Pragnienie (1999), Ziemia ognista (1994), Jechac do Lwowa (1985), Sklepy miesne (1975), and Komunikat (1972).His English collections of poetry include Without End: New and Selected Poems (2003, translated by Clare Cavanaugh), Mysticism for Beginners (1997, translated by Clare Cavanaugh), Tremor (1985, translated by Renata Gorczynski), and Canvas(1991, translated by Renata Gorczynski, B. Ivry, and C.K. Williams). Zagajewski’s honors and awards include the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature, a fellowship from the Berliner Kunstlerprogramm, the Kurt Tucholsky Prize, a Prix de la Libert, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
This week we begin a series of seven podcasts on the theme of "Poetry and Politics." Between October 2004 and October 2007, Institute Director Irena Grudzinska Gross moderated a series of conversations with American and European poets as a way of encouraging people to think in new and creative ways about the role culture can play in international life, focusing on poetry as the most succinct and efficient way language can be used. Numbering among our most popular events in six years, the conversations illumine the complex relationships between language, politics, and culture.
The release of this series of podcasts accompanies a forthcoming publication of the Institute featuring selected poems and excerpts from the conversations. To reserve a copy of Poetry and Politics, email email@example.com.
The series began in October 2004 with an event entitled "Poetry and Empire," a poetry reading and conversation with Boston University professors Robert Pinsky, former United States Poet Laureate, and Derek Walcott, recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. They were joined by Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, winner of the prestigious Neustadt international prize for poetry from World Literature Today. The conversation was particularly interesting given the divergent "imperial" contexts in which the three poets grew up: the context of the Soviet empire for Zagajewski, of the British empire for Caribbean born Walcott, and finally, of the American empire for Pinsky. One sees how their poetry, although not overtly political, was shaped by different political and historical realities.