Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz Ro

Overview

Widely held to be the most influential Polish poet of a generation that includes Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska, Tadeusz Róźewicz gives voice in the sharpest, most disturbing way to the crisis of values that has plagued our civilization. Joanna Trzeciak's new translation displays Róźewicz's supernatural simplicity, his stark diction ...

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Overview

Widely held to be the most influential Polish poet of a generation that includes Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska, Tadeusz Róźewicz gives voice in the sharpest, most disturbing way to the crisis of values that has plagued our civilization. Joanna Trzeciak's new translation displays Róźewicz's supernatural simplicity, his stark diction and sudden turns.

From "regression into the primordial soup"

finally I too came into the world

in the year 1921 and suddenly . . .

atchoo! time passes I am old and forgot where I put my glasses

I forgot there was

history Caesar Hitler Mata Hari

Stalin capitalism communism

Einstein Picasso Al Capone

Alka Seltzer Al Qaeda

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the great constellation of postwar and contemporary Polish poets, Rózewicz has been a sort of dark star: neither pellucidly wise nor gravely witty, in the manner of Nobel laureates Milosz and Symborska, Rózewicz's gritty, ragged verse has for more than half a century given his responses to the unanswerable conditions of history, beginning with the Holocaust and WWII. Rózewicz truly came into his own in the 1960s and in the 1990s, when longer forms given to free association allowed him to write without pretending that writing could alleviate the injustice that pervades any society. Trzeciak's stripped-down translation (as her foreword explains) tries to convey both Rózewicz's plain speech and his frequently intricate allusion to writers and works from Polish, German, Russian, and English, among them Franz Kafka and Ezra Pound. "Of course I try to write/ light carefree / even with my left foot/ but it's tethered to a stone," a recent poem complains in a poetry able to incorporate almost anything, from headlines to the simplest sentences a child might say, which a disillusioned adult might need to hear again: "this is a man/ this is a tree this is bread// people eat to live." (Dec.)
The Nation
“Striking . . . chilling. . . . [Rozewicz’s work] embodies that particular anxiety and familiar sense of diminishment we still associate with being ‘modern.’”
New Republic
“Instead of answers, the poet offers only an examination. Like it or not, he says, this is all we have: a fragment, a glimpse, a rustle.”
judges’ citation
“Rozewicz is that rare character—a skeptic as full of passion as of intelligence, of warmth as wariness.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393067798
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tadeusz Rózewicz was born in Poland in 1921. He is a major poet and playwright.

Joanna Trzeciak's translations include Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, winner of the Heldt Translation Prize. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Edward Hirsch has published seven books of poems, including Special Orders. He lives in New York City.

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