Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
Carcanet Press is our most courageous publisher. When you look at what they have brought out since their beginnings, it makes so many other houses seem timid or merely predictable.
Charles Tomlinson

They Came to See a Poet

Selected Poems

Tadeusz Rozewicz

Translated by Adam Czerniawski

RRP: GBP 15.95
Discount: 10%
You Save: GBP 1.60

Price: GBP 14.35
Available Add to basket
This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Hardback
ISBN: 978 0 856462 38 2
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Published: November 1991
224 x 145 x 24 mm
234 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  •  

    Pigtail

    When all the women in the transport
    had their heads shaved
    four workmen with brooms made of birch twigs
    swept up
    and gathered up the hair

    Behind clean glass
    the stiff hair lies
    of those suffocated in gas chambers
    there are pins and side combs
    in this hair

    The hair is not shot through with light
    is not parted by the breeze
    is not touched by any hand
    or rain or lips

    In huge chests
    clouds of dry hair
    of those suffocated
    and a faded plait
    a pigtail with a ribbon
    pulled at school
    by naughty boys.

    The Museum, Auschwitz, 1948

    Translated by Adam Czerniawski

    Tadeusz Różewicz is Poland’s most popular and influential poet. Born in 1921, he belongs to the generation of writers whose work was indelibly marked by Poland’s traumatic and tragic war-time experience. ‘What I produced is poetry for the horror-stricken. For those abandoned to butchery. For survivors.’ Rejecting traditional aesthetic values – which struck him as offensive in the face of what he had witnessed – Różewicz has created a stark, direct poetry rooted in common speech, fashioned ’out of a remnant of words, salvaged words, out of uninteresting words, words from the great rubbish dump, the great cemetery.’

    Yet Różewicz’s poetry is not confined to recording the horrors of war. They Came to See a Poet includes poems addressing childhood, friendship, love, eroticism, art, the poet’s rôle and obligations, religion, ageing, death and the anxieties of modern civilization. In 2003 Tadeusz Różewicz was awarded the Montale Prize, the latest of many awards and honours.

    Tadeusz Rozewicz
    Tadeusz Różewicz was born in 1921 in Radomsko, a town in central Poland. He fought in the Resistance against the Nazis, and after the war studied art history at Krakow University. He has published numerous collections of poetry, and his experimental and often controversial plays have been widely performed. His poetry ... read more
    Adam Czerniawski
    Adam Czerniawski, born in Warsaw in 1934, lived in the Middle East from 1941–47 before coming to England. He has translated widely from Polish as well as publishing original poetry, short stories, criticism and a memoir both in Polish and English. He lives in Wales and has worked in a ... read more
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog PNR 254: Editorial read more Hamish Whyte: On Edwin Morgan read more The Long Beds: Kate Miller read more Looking for Tenderfoot: Chris Beckett read more Hayden Murphy: On Edwin Morgan read more Rebecca Watts: Red Gloves Interview read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2020 Carcanet Press Ltd