New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001

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Overview

New and Collected Poems: 1931–2001 celebrates seven decades of Czeslaw Milosz's exceptional career. Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of our time, Milosz is a master of probing inquiry and graceful expression. His poetry is infused with a tireless spirit and penetrating insight into fundamental human dilemmas and the staggering yet simple truth that "to exist on the earth is beyond any power to name."

Czeslaw Milosz worked with the Polish Resistance movement in Warsaw...

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Overview

New and Collected Poems: 1931–2001 celebrates seven decades of Czeslaw Milosz's exceptional career. Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of our time, Milosz is a master of probing inquiry and graceful expression. His poetry is infused with a tireless spirit and penetrating insight into fundamental human dilemmas and the staggering yet simple truth that "to exist on the earth is beyond any power to name."

Czeslaw Milosz worked with the Polish Resistance movement in Warsaw during World War II and defected to France in 1951. His work brings to bear the political awareness of an exile -- most notably in A Treatise on Poetry, a forty-page exploration of the world wars that rocked the first half of the twentieth century. His later poems also reflect the sharp political focus through which this Nobel laureate never fails to bear witness to the events that stir the world.

Digging among the rubble of the past, Milosz forges a vision that encompasses pain as well as joy. His work, wrote Edward Hirsch in the New York Times Book Review, is "one of the monumental splendors of poetry in our age." With more than fifty new poems, this is an essential collection from one of the most important voices in contemporary poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"More clever than you, I learned my century, pretending I knew a method for forgetting pain." There are few superlatives left for Milosz's work, but this enormous volume, with its portentous valedictory feel, will have reviewers firing up their thesauri nationwide. Born in Lithuania 90 years ago, Milosz published his first volume in Poland at age 22 and, after leftist activity in the '30s (forced underground under Hitler), defected in 1951 while working for the Polish consulate in Paris. After emigrating to the U.S. in 1960 and settling in as a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Berkeley (whence his books continued to issue), Milosz won the Nobel Prize in 1980. More books of verse attempting to come to grips with the 20th century followed, and Milosz enjoys an enormous, and deserved, reputation here, well-served by Milosz and Robert Hass's many co-translations of the poems, which make up the bulk of the book. (Other translators include Robert Pinsky and Peter Dale Scott.) Worth the price of admission alone is a full collection's worth of new work, taken from the Polish volume To ("This" in English) published last year, and superior to 1998's very uneven Road-Side Dog. The odd rhyming hexameter of "A Run" is typical here, taking us on dreams of flying, and back, in the last stanza, to the present: "I'm unkindly greeted by this awakened state./ During the day, on my cane, asthmatic, I creep./ But the night sees me off at the traveler's gate,/ And there, as at the outset, the world is new and sweet." Through the many horrors chronicled in this book, that renewal is a perpetual promise. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Excellent reviews and distribution should lead to strong sales, andMilosz's nonagenarian status should lend a hook for magazines. The press kit, however, pitches the book as published to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the (formerly independent) Ecco Press, and offers Ecco helmsman Daniel Halpern for interviews in lieu of Milosz. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
As complete a representation of the Nobel prize winner's work as you are likely to find. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060514488
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/6/2003
  • Edition description: 1st Ecco Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 800
  • Sales rank: 428,626
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Czeslaw Milosz was born in Szetejnie, Lithuania, in 1911. He worked with the Polish resistance movement in Warsaw during World War II and was later stationed in Paris and Washington, D.C., as a Polish cultural attaché. He defected to France in 1951, and in 1960 he accepted a position at the University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, and was a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He died in 2004.

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Read an Excerpt

Artificer



Burning, he walks in the stream of flickering letters, clarinets,
machines throbbing quicker than the heart, lopped-off heads, silk
canvases, and he stops under the sky

and raises toward it his joined clenched fists.

Believers fall on their bellies, they suppose it is a monstrance that
shines,

but those are knuckles, sharp knuckles shine that way, my friends.

He cuts the glowing, yellow buildings in two, breaks the walls into
motley halves;
pensive, he looks at the honey seeping from those huge honeycombs:
throbs of pianos, children's cries, the thud of a head banging against
the floor.

This is the only landscape able to make him feel.

He wonders at his brother's skull shaped like an egg,
every day he shoves back his black hair from his brow,
then one day he plants a big load of dynamite
and is surprised that afterward everything spouts up in the explosion.
Agape, he observes the clouds and what is hanging in them:
globes, penal codes, dead cats floating on their backs, locomotives.
They turn in the skeins of white clouds like trash in a puddle.
While below on the earth a banner, the color of a romantic rose,
flutters,
and a long row of military trains crawls on the weed-covered tracks.

Wilno, 1931



New and Collected Poems. Copyright © by Czeslaw Milosz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 30, 2012

    Highly recommened

    Absolutely beautiful!

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    Posted November 25, 2009

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