Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Without End

Adam Zagajewski’s collection of poems, Without End, was the first poetry to remind me that I can, indeed, enjoy poetry. Zagajewski is originally from Poland, and though he currently resides and teaches in the U.S., the collection was translated by Clare Cavanagh.

Not surprisingly, I was first attracted to Zagajewski because of his Polish heritage. He was born in the city of Lwów, which is now Lviv, Ukraine. His first poem I read was “To Go to Lvov.” The poem begins: “To go to Lvov. Which station / for Lvov, if not in a dream, at dawn, when dew / gleams on a suitcase, when express / trains and bullet trains are being born. To leave / in haste for Lvov, night or day, in September or in March.” These words expressed precisely my own feelings for the city, my desire to be there. I was immediately hooked.

More than anything, though, I am attracted to Zagajewski’s imagery. I can see his poems. “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” appeared in The New Yorker following the 9-11 attacks. The poem starts with the lines “Try to praise the mutilated world. / Remember June’s long days, / and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.” The image of damage and destruction juxtaposed with the peace and beauty of summer is startling yet comforting.

Zagajewski’s poetry my not “speak” to everyone the same way it does to me. Yet, I am a firm believer that everyone can find a poet who touches her in a similar manner. For those that do enjoy Zagajewski, his most recent collection, Eternal Enemies, was released in March. Unfortunately, I have yet to get my hands on a copy.

1 comment:

notaconnoisseur said...

I love to read your blog. It fills me with the desire to travel around the world with every book that I open. Thank you.