Written in a pared-down, direct language, and filled with allusions to everything from philosophy to TV talk shows, the poetry of Tadeusz Rózewicz encompasses the complexity of human experience in the early 21st century. Rózewicz's unique voice, formed during his experiences as a member of the Polish resistance in World War II, and honed by decades living under communist rule, holds a merciless mirror up to the crimes and excesses of the poet's lifetime. In his eighties now, Rózewicz continues to be a prolific writer and an acerbic commentator on his life and times. This collection combines his latest three volumes: professor's knife, gray zone, and exit. These are extraordinary poems from an acknowledged European master.
Polish poet Tadeusz Rózewicz (1921- ) is considered one of Europe's most innovative and important writers. Along with his contemporaries Czeslaw Milosz, Zbiegniew Herbert, and Wislawa Szymborska, he created the extraordinary phenomenon that was post-war Polish poetry. Lionized in his native country and beyond, since his debut in 1946 with Unease, he has published over twenty major collections of poetry. He is also one of the most important Polish playwrights of the 20th century. His poetry and plays continue to attract the highest critical acclaim in Poland; his numerous awards include the Nike Prize, Poland's most prestigious literary award, for his 1999 book Mother Departs.
Bill Johnston is the Chair of the Comparative Literature Department at Indiana University. His translations include Wies?aw My?liwski¢s Stone Upon Stone, and Magdalens Tulli¢s Dreams and Stones, Moving Parts, Flaw and In Red. His 2008 translation of Tadeusz Ró?ewicz¢s new poems won the inaugural Found in Translation Prize and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Poetry Award.
Rózewicz is a poet of chaos with a nostalgia for order. Around him and in himself he sees only broken fragments, a senseless rush. —Czeslaw Milosz
I am building a bridge to link the past with the future, " Tadeusz Rózewicz writes, and that's precisely what he does in these stark, forthright, and talkative new poems, which Bill Johnston has brought into English with great keenness, clarity and intelligence. Rózewicz is an essential Polish poet, and this book stakes his brave claim. —Edward Hirsch
His poems are extraordinary in their ordinariness. —Jan Miodek, Gazeta Wyborcza Wroclaw
Another chapter in Rózewicz's great poetic reckoning with the age in which it fell to him to live—a reckoning with his own biography, with poetry, with art, and with the mystery of human existence. —Tygodnik Powszechny, on gray zone
The startling juxtaposition of sensual and brutal histories, of human and animal flesh, of the experience of war and of writing is Rózewicz's great achievement... —The Guardian
I cannot imagine what post-war Polish poetry would have looked like without the poems of Tadeusz Rózewicz. We all owe something to him, though not all of us are able to admit it. —Wislawa Szymborska
New Poems gives us reason to celebrate, not only because a poet whose mastery is indisputable has authored it, but because it may very well deepen our understanding of what Polish poetry is and what it’s been up to lately. —Piotr Florczyk
This book is filled with humor, irony, and language play; it inspires laughter and hope... Rózewicz seeks to shock with his juxtapositions, to demonstrate how much depends on one's perspective; he seeks to de-automatize thought… A superb reflection of reality. —Izabela Mikrut, on exit