Zbigniew Herbert

A Requiem to an Age of Brilliant Polish Poetry
February 08, 2012

Poland in the postwar era was a supremely unlucky nation, but in one respect (and perhaps one only) it was among the world’s luckiest. This unassuming country, generally admired not for its scenery nor its cuisine nor its architecture, produced three of the greatest European poets of the last half-century. The first was Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), born in Lithuania to a Polish family, who defected to France in 1951 and emigrated to the United States in 1960; he was Poland’s geopolitical poet, befitting his perch in exile, and its first poet Nobelist.

Against Color
November 09, 2011

Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz Rózewicz By Tadeusz Rozewicz Translated by Joanna Trzeciak (W.W. Norton, 364 pp., $32.95) New Poems By Tadeusz Rozewicz Translated by Bill Johnston (Archipelago Books, 259 pp., $16) They Came To See A Poet: Selected Poems By Tadeusz Rozewicz Translated by Adam Czerniawski (Anvil Press, 268 pp., $22.95) “The Survivor” And Other Poems By Tadeusz Rozewicz Translated by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert Maguire (Princeton University Press, 160 pp., $30.95) In retrospect, all revolutions seem inevitable.

June 11, 2008

A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances, and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century By John Burrow (Knopf, 553 pp., $35) History was born in Greece in the middle of the fifth century B.C.E. It has flourished ever since then, in diverse but recognizably related forms, and it still exists today, as a form of inquiry into the past, a literary genre, and a set of practices plied and taught in universities. That's our story, in the West, and we're sticking to it. Or at least John Burrow is.