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Postwar Polish Poetry: An Anthology

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This expanded edition of Postwar Polish Poetry (which was originally published in 1965) presents 125 poems by 25 poets, including Czeslaw Milosz and other Polish poets living outside Poland. The stress of the anthology is on poetry written after 1956, the year when the lifting of censorship and the berakdown of doctrines provoked and explosion of new schools and talents. T This expanded edition of Postwar Polish Poetry (which was originally published in 1965) presents 125 poems by 25 poets, including Czeslaw Milosz and other Polish poets living outside Poland. The stress of the anthology is on poetry written after 1956, the year when the lifting of censorship and the berakdown of doctrines provoked and explosion of new schools and talents. The victory of Solidarity in August 1980 once again opened new vistas for a short time; the coup of December closed that chapter. It is too early yet to predict the impact these events will have on the future of Polish poetry.


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This expanded edition of Postwar Polish Poetry (which was originally published in 1965) presents 125 poems by 25 poets, including Czeslaw Milosz and other Polish poets living outside Poland. The stress of the anthology is on poetry written after 1956, the year when the lifting of censorship and the berakdown of doctrines provoked and explosion of new schools and talents. T This expanded edition of Postwar Polish Poetry (which was originally published in 1965) presents 125 poems by 25 poets, including Czeslaw Milosz and other Polish poets living outside Poland. The stress of the anthology is on poetry written after 1956, the year when the lifting of censorship and the berakdown of doctrines provoked and explosion of new schools and talents. The victory of Solidarity in August 1980 once again opened new vistas for a short time; the coup of December closed that chapter. It is too early yet to predict the impact these events will have on the future of Polish poetry.

30 review for Postwar Polish Poetry: An Anthology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Edgar Trevizo

    Otra preciosa antología de Milosz. Fue una delicia el viaje con estos magníficos poetas polacos a través de la gran selección que hace Milosz y de sus iluminadores comentarios al estilo de cada poeta. Fantástico.

  2. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    3 3/4 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    I'm not the best person to appraise Polish poets, and those with more knowledge will form their own opinions. I was pleased to read this anthology and get a chance to look inside the country and the souls of her literary writers. Some of the poems I didn't much enjoy, as they seemed like brash masculine youth; others told of violence; but many described nature and the surroundings of the writer's life. The greatest impact on me came from a series of descriptions of the German destruction of Wars I'm not the best person to appraise Polish poets, and those with more knowledge will form their own opinions. I was pleased to read this anthology and get a chance to look inside the country and the souls of her literary writers. Some of the poems I didn't much enjoy, as they seemed like brash masculine youth; others told of violence; but many described nature and the surroundings of the writer's life. The greatest impact on me came from a series of descriptions of the German destruction of Warsaw after the city rose against them. The poet tells in a prose account how she was a nurse at the time and describes the lengthy siege, urban war and its aftermath. I suggest some photos of the poets or locations would help. This is an unbiased review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Antonio Delgado

    An important poetry anthology rooted in the human condition. It includes some of the greatest poets of the last century. Coincidentally, they also belong to our contemporary world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hasan Makhzoum

    This anthology of Polish poems includes poems created amid the blood, the debris, the oppression, the brutality, the ravages and the ruins of the WWII. In this collection I find that there was some meh poems, very ordinary, and some that are really boring.. there was some beautiful ones and there was great ones, including poems by "Czeslaw Milosz", "Wislawa Szymborska" and of course, "Zbigniew Herbert". But mainly, It features a Polish gem I honestly ignored its existence until now by the name o This anthology of Polish poems includes poems created amid the blood, the debris, the oppression, the brutality, the ravages and the ruins of the WWII. In this collection I find that there was some meh poems, very ordinary, and some that are really boring.. there was some beautiful ones and there was great ones, including poems by "Czeslaw Milosz", "Wislawa Szymborska" and of course, "Zbigniew Herbert". But mainly, It features a Polish gem I honestly ignored its existence until now by the name of Anna Świrszczyńska, but that's ok, jumping right now to the library to buy her books.. Her poems are sensuous, ironic, intense, metaphysical, minimalist.. they are sweet acidic and sour. One of her aphorisms says: “the poet should be as sensitive as an aching tooth.” "Obsessed with the perishability of the flesh", her poetry is a "conversation between the body and the soul", according to Milosz. Anna crafted poems in which the human body is prominently present in the vocabulary and dominant in her images: (reading of "Talking to My Body", translated by Czeslaw Milosz) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ReV... Anna Swir reminds me of Joyce Mansour. Nevertheless her poetry is impregnated with less repulsive and destructive eroticism. Sad and melancholic, but less pessimistic than Tsvetaeva's poetry. On the contrary, she embraced optimism and was more inclined to endure the sufferings of the reality no matter how harsh and painful it has become. Her eyes were fearlessly open when she was executed by a fire squad.. She conveys moving and touching images out of her observations of details from the daily life : "Her deft observation of her surroundings becomes a type of alchemy for converting words into mental images that you feel bone deep. Each poem stands on its own merit; a snapshot and a graphic account of a moment in time, one single remnant that when woven together with the others evolves into one of the most honest portraits of the collective suffering of those caught in the snare of violence."- [Val Brussel] One of my favourite poems out of this selection: (Woman Talks to Her Thigh) "It is only thanks to your good looks I can take part in the rites of love. Mystical ecstasies treasons delightful as crimson lipstick, a perverse rococo of psychological involutions, sweetness of carnal longings that take your breath, pits of despair sinking to the very bottom of the world: all this I owe to you. How tenderly every day I should lash you with a whip of cold water, if you alone allow me to possess beauty and wisdom irreplaceable. The souls of my lovers open to me in a moment of love and I have them in my dominion. I look as does a sculptor on his work at their faces snapped shut with eyelids, martyred by ecstasy, made dense by happiness. I read as does an angel thoughts in their skulls, I feel in my hand a beating human heart, I listen to the words which are whispered by one human to another in the frankest moments of one’s life. I enter their souls, I wander by a road of delight or horror to lands as inconceivable as the bottoms of the oceans. Later on, heavy with treasures I come slowly to myself. O, many riches many precious truths growing immense in a metaphysical echo, many initiations delicate and startling I owe to you, my thigh. The most exquisite refinement of my soul would not give me any of those treasures if not for the clear, smooth charm of an amoral little animal." -Anna Świrszczyńska

  6. 5 out of 5

    Inés Chamarro

    This being a 1980 anthology I find it remarkably prophetic on who was going to be who. It includes some poets who were already a name before the war, like Rózewicz or Gombrowicz, but adds names like Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, Milosz himself and representatives of a younger generation, like Zagajewski. There is a lot of post-traumatic stress going on in these poems, even twenty or thirty years after the war. The post-war regime was clearly not helping any either. The natural way in whi This being a 1980 anthology I find it remarkably prophetic on who was going to be who. It includes some poets who were already a name before the war, like Rózewicz or Gombrowicz, but adds names like Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, Milosz himself and representatives of a younger generation, like Zagajewski. There is a lot of post-traumatic stress going on in these poems, even twenty or thirty years after the war. The post-war regime was clearly not helping any either. The natural way in which death, mutilated body parts, torture, disappearance, arbitrary misuse of power, the futility of existence, the Ghetto, the resistance... are incorporated into the poems creates what is probably an involuntary portrait of a very bad time for a badly wounded generation. The last time I felt such a deep, underlying anxiety was reading the Wipers Times, a collection of comic periodicals edited by the English soldiers in the WWI trenches. It was more acute in the Wipers Times because through the jokes you could see and hear the shellfire and the mud and the snipers, but here you feel it is more pervasive and long lasting and the poets are just desperately trying to find a way to cope with the horror of it. One wonders how the rest of the population managed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    I bought this book in Krakow-- a great snapshot of some of the best poets produced by Poland in the last century. Milosz, Gombrowicz, Zagajewski, Zbigniew Herbet, and many people I have never heard of before are included. Poland had a pretty rough go of it in the 20th century, but in spite of all the censorship, war, bloodletting and communist bootheels, some pretty amazing, beautiful, humanistic work managed to come to light.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I pulled this book off the shelf and every single poem in the book meant something to me. Maybe it was just where I was at the time. But I don't usually have that kind of reaction with poetry anthologies.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Excellent collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Seth Augenstein

    Some gems. Some clunky groupings of words in lines and paragraphs.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    New poets to read: Anna Swirszczynska and Aleksander Wat!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Frankie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becca Neel

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shauna

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ewa

  17. 4 out of 5

    Annie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gregg Hower

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fenia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dagerman

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joe Mcmanis

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dhananjay Shukla

  25. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jozo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Craig Calvert

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jose Araguz

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christy Kinney

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pangregor

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