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Search tags: Czesław-Miłosz
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text 2017-06-30 13:38
30th June 2017
The Captive Mind - Czesław Miłosz

Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone. 


Czesław Miłosz


Prolific poet, essayist, and historian Czesław Miłosz (born June 30, 1911) was also a diplomat, who served as Poland's cultural attaché to France and the United States.

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review 2016-03-15 03:47
Miracle Fair
Miracle Fair: Selected Poems - Wisława Szymborska,Joanna Trzeciak,Czesław Miłosz

My professor recommended I read this collection after I expressed an interest in Milosz’s work and a specific admiration of his style. Reading “Miracle Fair” was like an exploration of the self. I felt myself get lost in tiny cracks and crevices within and after reemerging there was a certain feeling of lightness and delight. I only wish that one day my own writing can be as honest and wispy as Szymborska’s.


In comparison to Milosz, I felt Szymborska had a lighter step to her writing, the words guiding the reader along effortlessly while still pointing out moments of shock or irony without making it outright. And the imagery – oh the imagery. It was by far the best part of the collection.One of the memorable poems from this collection, “Drinking Wine”, was simply full of them. There was a whole stanza I mauled over and lost myself in:


I tell him what he wants to hear – about ants / dying of love / under a dandelion’s constellation. / I swear that sprinkled with wine / a white rose will sing.


There was a dreamy quality throughout most of the poems yet they were, for lack of a better word, sophisticated in their use of it. It was incorporated seamlessly and an entire world was constructed around these images, yet they managed to retain their uniqueness and wonder. Particular attention should be paid to the section “I knock at the door of the rock”, where the poems “Seen from Above” and “The Silence of Plants” deserve to be the topic of lengthy midnight discussions between lovers or just groups of friends. Here, the imagery emphasized the topics of death and identity in a way that offers new ideas and angles.


This is a beautiful collection, a perfect balance of style and topic, both light and heavy, but an overall delight.

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quote 2016-01-25 20:06

Zajmują się, tylko nie tym, co najważniejsze.
Biegają, jakby wierzyli, że będą żyć wiecznie.
I każde z nich dla siebie drogocenne.
I każde uważa siebie za jedyne.
Piesek przydrożny - Czesław Miłosz

Czesław Miłosz - "Piesek przydrożny"

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review 2015-11-10 02:54
New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001 - Czesław Miłosz

I’m no stranger to Milosz – my Polish classmates are very loud and proud about his writing, and even though I am Ukrainian I am quite familiar with many Slavic writers. I’ve read some of his poems here and there before, a few in their original Polish to practice and see how much of them I can understand. So it was exciting to find out my prof chose Milosz’s poetry to study in our course.


I didn’t read the entire book, as we only had to focus on two sections: “Rescue” (1945) and “Unattainable Earth” (1986). Despite not reading the collection from cover to cover, the two specific sections were enough for me to grasp the style of Milosz’s writing and come to love it. There is such clarity in his poems, with simple but thoughtful imagery that speaks to the very basics of life. Poems like “A Book in the Ruins”, “The World”, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, and “The Hooks of a Corset” – the four poems that stood out to me the most – are particularly worth paying attention to as they offer their own microcosm with a timeline that is distinct from all other poems, rich with the narrator’s thoughts that are always the focal point of the poem.


I wasn’t lost in every single poem. I found something to love and ponder over in each one, but when it comes to being completely engulfed by the experience, I didn’t have that happen with every poem. I do however agree with people who say that Milosz is one of the best and most influential poets of the 20th century. There is much to love in his poems, honest and insightful with a refreshing honesty.

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review 2013-07-23 00:00
The Issa Valley - Czesław Miłosz,Louis Iribarne Although I have made no systematic study of the matter, I must ask myself once again why it is that poetry written by novelists invariably triggers my gag reflex, whereas novels written by poets are well worth reading? With no particular effort the names Dickey, Kinnell, Carlos Williams, Cummings, Bobrowski, Rilke, Daumal, Soupault and now Miłosz come to mind - poets who have written novels that were at least enjoyable and, in some cases, much more than that. I don't know (though I has me suspicions). The Issa River There are corners of Europe I find particularly fascinating, regions where people of many cultures live together, producing tensions, of course, but also very fruitful cultural cross-pollination. One such region constituted the heart of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and had the ill fortune to be fought over for centuries by Germans, Slavs, Balts, Tartars and Scandinavians, and, more recently, to be a region the two largest and most powerful armies in history, filled with mutual loathing, rolled over again and again in their struggle to the death. In this region were born about the same time the Polish-speaking lad of Lithuanian descent, Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004), and the German-speaking lad of Lithuanian descent, Johannes Bobrowski (1917-1965). Both have written very beautifully about the life that vanished there during the Second World War and its aftermath. Miłosz' Dolina Issy (published in 1955) resurrects the life shared by Lithuanians, Poles, Jews and Germans around the Issa River, now in the political entity called Belorus. When the novel opens shortly before World War I, the Issa Valley is in the Russian Empire and changes hands a number of times before the novel closes. However, these large scale events are noted only faintly at the edges of Miłosz' prose, for his primary interest is to preserve the individuals he lovingly and wryly describes and their way of life in an eternal, nostalgic amber, despite, indeed against, what these large scale events eventually did to them. As a consequence, only the small, local events appropriate to a boy's childhood in a rural community take place in the book. The book is episodic, relating these small incidents and many colorful characters who pop up and then disappear again. Only the boy, the grandparents with whom he lives and their household maintain Miłosz' longterm attention. But it can hardly be called a coming of age story, since the boy is only 14 when it ends, even if the boy grows and learns. The book is not plot-driven, nor character-driven and certainly not metafictionally driven. It is a resurrection and a preservation recounted in a beautiful, precise, poetic prose which also willingly and nonjudgmentally engages with the many superstitions common to such rural folk. Particularly piquant are the pre-Christian "devils" - little men dressed "like Immanuel Kant" (!) who can disappear, adopt other forms, and are generally more annoying than at all dangerous. Somehow they are associated in the people's minds with Germans and progress. Miłosz releases his imagination and gives us the following passage, among others (just to give you a taste):One can easily imagine a parliamentary session being convened in caverns deep inside the earth, so deep that it is warmed by the fires of the earth's molten center. The session is attended by hundreds of thousands of tiny devils in frock coats, who listen solemnly to speakers representing the Central Committee of Infernos. The speakers announce that, in the interest of the cause, all dancing in the forests and meadows will have to cease; that from now on, highly qualified specialists will have to operate in such a way that the minds of mortals will never suspect their presence. There is applause but it is strained, for those present realize that they were necessary only during the preparatory stage, that progress has consigned them to gloomy chasms, and that they will never again witness the setting of the sun, the flight of kingfishers, the glitter of stars, and all the other wonders of the uncircumscribable earth. Even devils experience the nostalgia of lives never to be lived again...
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