Adam Zagajewski : the March 2021 Slavonic items of the month

Last month’s Slavonic blog post looked at recently received new Polish publications, including a book of poems by Adam Zagajewski.  Little did I think then that a month later I would be writing about the poet in the light of his sad death at the age of 75.

Adam Zagajewski spent most of his life in Kraków but was born in what is now Ukraine.  He was born in June 1945 in a Lwów that was still chiefly Polish, but he and his family were caught up in the enormous WW2 population transfers as national borders shifted.  Polish Lwów became Ukrainian L’viv –  just as German Gleiwitz reverted to Polish Gliwice, where Zagajewski’s family moved to and where he grew up.  One of the volumes of poetry we hold in the UL by Zagajewski is called Jechać do Lwowa (To travel to Lwów), and one of our books of essays by him is called Dwa miasta (Two cities; the English translation is also in Cambridge).  The fate of his family and their home and the fate of millions of other similarly displaced families cast a long and complex shadow. Continue reading