Zagajewski, Adam

Zagajewski, Adam
▪ 2005

      In 2004 Polish poet, fiction writer, and essayist Adam Zagajewski—already the recipient of several notable literary honours, including the Swedish PEN's Kurt Tucholsky Prize, the Tomas Tranströmer Prize (Västerås, Swed.), and the Prix de la Liberté (France)—added the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which is awarded every other year by the University of Oklahoma and the journal World Literature Today. Zagajewski's writings were grounded in the turbulent history of his homeland and concerned with the quandary of the modern intellectual. They interwove the historical and political with the more spiritual aspects of life. “Zagajewski may be looking at Eastern Europe, but his gaze wraps itself around the whole globe,” wrote The Threepenny Review.

      Zagajewski was born on June 21, 1945, in Lwow, Pol. (now Lviv, Ukraine), a city where his family had resided for many centuries. Shortly after his birth, Lwow was incorporated into the Soviet Union, and his family was forcibly repatriated to Poland. As a romantic poet in whose world view memory and nostalgia were key elements, Zagajewski never let go of his sense of loss of historical roots. His family moved to Silesia and then later to Krakow, where Zagajewski graduated from the Jagiellonian University. His first collections of poetry, Komunikat (1972; “Communiqué”) and Sklepy mięsne (1975; “Meat Shops”), came out of the Polish “New Wave” movement, which sought to expose the falseness of official communist propaganda. Zagajewski was a major figure in the Solidarity movement of the 1980s, and his volume List: Oda do wielości (1982; “Letter: An Ode to Multiplicity”) contained poems reacting to the imposition of martial law in Poland. His first novel, Ciepło, zimno (1975; “Warm and Cold”), was about a young intellectual who, tormented by self-doubts and unable to accept unambiguous principles, became a servant of the police state. Zagajewski left Poland for Paris in 1982, and there his work grew more lyrical and more personal. In his memoir W cudzym pięknie (1998; Another Beauty, 2000), he wrote of his growing conviction that “a poem, essay, or story must grow from an emotion, an observation, a joy, a sorrow that is my own, and not my nation's.” His second novel, Cienka kreska (1983; “The Thin Line”), explored the spiritual dilemma of the contemporary artist who is caught between the splendour and the triviality of everyday experience.

      Zagajewski was coeditor of the Paris-based Polish-language Literary Review, although he recently had moved his primary residence from France back to Krakow, where he completed a new essay collection, Obrona żarliwości (2002; A Defense of Ardor, 2004).

Anna Poplawska

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Adam Zagajewski — Naissance 21 juin 1945 (1945 06 21) (66 ans) Lwów (Lviv) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zagajewski — Adam Zagajewski und Wisława Szymborska bei einer Lesung (2005) Adam Zagajewski (* 21. Juni 1945 in Lemberg, heute Ukraine) ist ein polnischer Schriftsteller, Lyriker und Essayist …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Adam Zagajewski — (b. 21 June 1945 in Lwów, Soviet Union (now Lviv, Ukraine)) is a Polish poet, novelist, and essayist. He had lived in Paris since 1981. In 2002 he has moved to Kraków. His poem Try To Praise The Mutilated World , printed in The New Yorker, became …   Wikipedia

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