Thursday, September 23

Polish poet Adam Zagajewski dies


Adam Zagajewski, in a 2019 photo.

Adam Zagajewski, in a 2019 photo.

Polish poet and essayist Adam Zagajewski, 2017 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, He has died at the age of 75, as announced by the Princess of Asturias Foundation on social networks. Zagajewski died this Sunday in a hospital in Krakow, according to various Polish media.

A candidate for the Nobel Prize since 2007, in 2017 he became the First Princess of Asturias Award for Literature in the Polish language. Adam Zagajewski’s works were banned during the years of Soviet socialism for his strong political charge, for which he lived in exile for 20 years in France and the United States.

Born in Lwów (now Ukraine) on June 21, 1945, he studied philosophy and psychology in Gliwice and Krakow at the Jagiellonian University where he served as an assistant professor.

It is here where the figure of the libertarian poet was conceived, where he begins to make a name for himself as one of the greatest exponents of the so-called Generation of 68 in Krakow, in a context where the lyrics had to conform to socialist demands imposed from a Moscow-controlled Warsaw.

Zagajewski drank from the tradition of Polish poetry, and like other intellectuals marked by the eventful history of this country, he soon formed his own group of poets and entered the dangerous terrain of political vindication, by signing several manifestos in which he ask for more freedom.

In books such as “Comunicado” and “Tienda de carne” denounced the falsity of the official language, demanding sincerity in public discourse.

His works were banned by the communist regime, so in 1982 he had to go into exile first to Paris and then to the United States, where he was able to work as a professor at the University of Chicago and, above all, continue writing. The poet did not return to Krakow, until 2002.

Although he participated in the movements for freedoms in his country, he himself made it clear in exile that his personality was “that of a dissident of the dissidents”, that he had discovered that “poetry is elsewhere, beyond the immediate partisan struggles, and even beyond the rebellion – even the most justified – against tyranny. ”

Beyond their indomitable poetry against the communist regime that characterized his work in the 70s and 80s, in the last decades his collections of poems became more contemplative to delve into the realm of the existential with works such as “Solidaridad y soledad” or the collection of poems “Antenas”, where he shows a fine sensitivity esthetic. Now sprouts in his poetry the search for beauty but maintaining two constants that define him as a poet and as a man: human depth and a fine aesthetic sensitivity.

His poetic bibliography includes “Go to Lvov” (1985), “Lienzo” (1990), “Tierra del fuego” (1994); “Desire” (1997); “Anhelo” (1999), “Regreso” (2003) or “Antenas” (2005). These last two also compiled by the Acantilado publishing house under the title “Antenas” (2007).

His essays include “Two cities” (1995), “In defense of fervor” (2002) or “Solidarity and loneliness” (1982). In 2012, his collection of poems “Mano invisible” (2009) appeared, he is also the author of three novels and the memoir, “En la Belleza ajena” (1998). In 2017 the essay “Reread a Rilke” (2017) appeared, for him a decisive poet in his work.

Zagajewski was in Madrid in July 2015 for a tribute that the Polish Institute of Culture dedicated to him. On that occasion the author gave his peculiar vision of poetry: “Poetry has an extra value only when human life is in danger, when society is about to perish. Perhaps it is better for poetry that it is not so vital, so necessary “.

Princess of Asturias Award for Literature 2017 and Nobel candidate on several occasions since 2007, He also held the 2010 European Poetry Prize for his work as a whole and for having disseminated the importance of a united Europe and its community values, the Jean Améry essay 2016.

He was editor of the literature magazine “Zszyty”, member of the Association of Polish Writers, and had other awards such as the Vilenica (1996), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (2002) or the “Berliner” or the “Kurt Tucholsky Prize “.




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