Selected Poems: 1931-2004
celebrates Czeslaw Milosz's lifetime of poetry. Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of our time, Milosz is a master of expression and probing inquiry. Life opened for Czeslaw Milosz at a crossroads of civilizations in northeastern Europe. This was less a melting pot than a torrent of languages and ideas, where old folk traditions met Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, and Orthodox rites. What unfolded next around him was a century of catastrophe and madness: two world wars, revolutions, invasions, and the murder of tens of millions, all set to a cacophony of hymns, gunfire, national anthems, and dazzling lies. In the thick of this upheaval, wide awake and in awe of living, dodging shrapnel, imprisonment, and despair, Milosz tried to understand both history and the moment, with humble respect for the suffering of each individual. He read voraciously in many languages and wrote masterful poetry that, even in translation, is infused with a tireless spirit and a penetrating insight into fundamental human dilemmas and the staggering yet simple truth that "to exist on the earth is beyond any power to name." Unflinching, outspoken, timeless, and unsentimental, Milosz digs through the rubble of the past, forging a vision -- and a warning -- that encompasses both pain and joy. "His intellectual life," writes Seamus Heaney, "could be viewed as a long single combat with shape-shifting untruth."