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Tadeusz Rozewicz: They Came to See a Poet (3e)

Selected Poems

Tadeusz Rozewicz

Translated by Adam Czerniawski

Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Edition: 3rd
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback 3e (288 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2011)
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author

    The moon shines

    The moon shines
    an empty street
    the moon shines
    a man flees

    the moon shines
    a man fell
    a man expired
    the moon shines

    the moon sines
    an empty street
    a dead man’s face
    a pool of water



    Quartered pink ideals
    hang in abattoirs

    Shops are selling
    motley death-masks
    stripped off the faces
    of us who live
    who have survived
    into the eye-socket of war.

    Traslated 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.

    This third edition includes recent poems and an additional preface by Adam Czerniawski.

    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
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