An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czeslaw Milosz

An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czeslaw Milosz

by Cynthia L. Haven (Editor)


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Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004) often seemed austere and forbidding to Americans, but those who got to know him found him warm, witty, and endlessly enriching. An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz presents a collection of remembrances from his colleagues, his students, and his fellow writers and poets in America and Poland.

Miłosz’s oeuvre is complex, rooted in twentieth-century eastern European history. A poet, translator, and prose writer, Miłosz was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1961 to 1998. In 1980 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The earliest in this collection of thirty-two memoirs begins in the 1930s, and the latest takes readers to within a few days of Miłosz’s death. This vital collection reveals the fascinating life story of the man Joseph Brodsky called “one of the greatest poets of our time, perhaps the greatest.”

Contributors include: Bogdana Carpenter, Clare Cavanagh, Anna Frajlich, Natalie Gerber, George Gömöri, Irena Grudzińska Gross, Hynryk Grynberg, Dan Halpern, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, Jane Hirshfield, Agnieszka Kosińska, John Foster Leich, Madeline G. Levine, Richard Lourie, Zygmunt Malinowski, Morton Marcus, Jadwiga Maurer, W. S. Merwin, Leonard Nathan, Robert Pinsky, Alexander Schenker, Peter Dale Scott, Marek Skwarnicki, Judith Tannenbaum, Elizabeth Kridl Valkenier, Lillian Vallee, Tomas Venclova, Helen Vendler, Reuel K. Wilson, Joanna Zach, and Adam Zagajewski

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804011334
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Publication date: 03/29/2011
Edition description: 1
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Cynthia L. Haven has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Kenyon Review, the Georgia Review, and others. Recent books include Czesław Miłosz: Conversations and Peter Dale in Conversation with Cynthia Haven. She was recently a Milena Jesenská Journalism Fellow with Vienna’s Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Chronology xiii

Introduction: From Devenir to Être Cynthia L. Haven 1

Way Back in Wilno… Elizabeth Kridl Valkenier 10

"Only a Pole Could Have Been So Careless" John Foster Leich 16

An Epistolary Friendship George Gömöri 20

Half a Century with Milosz Marek Skwarnicki 33

My Colleague from Dwinelle Hall Jadwiga Maurer 43

Love at Last Sight Richard Lourie 47

My Apprenticeship with Milosz Reuel K. Wilson 60

A Difficult, Inspirational Giant Peter Dale Scott 65

Remembering Czeslaw Milosz W. S. Merwin 74

Nine Flashbacks Bogdana Carpenter 80

Milosz the Refugee Henryk Grynberg 88

Uneasy Exile Morton Marcus 96

Wanderer Alexander Schenker 104

Seeing the Bear Lillian Vallee 109

The Exile Who Rejected Pathos Irena Grudzinska Gross 118

I Can't Write a Memoir of Czeslaw Milosz Adam Zagajewski 120

Spring in Berkeley Tomas Venclova 128

He Also Knew How to Be Gracious Anna Frajlich 138

Irony and "Incantation" Robert Pinsky 154

Believers Have This Advantage… Leonard Nathan 160

Milosz at Chez Panisse Daniel Halpern 164

Poet versus Camera: Three Encounters Zygmunt Malinowski 166

I Promised to Speak My Mind Madeline G. Levine 175

"Pretending to Be a Real Person" Helen Vendler 183

Milosz as Buddhist Jane Hirshfield 189

Milosz at San Quentin Judith Tannenbaum 192

"On the Border of This World and the Beyond, in Krakow…" Joanna Zach 198

In Gratitude for All the Gifts Seamus Heaney 203

Missing Milosz Natalie Gerber 211

Job and Forrest Gump Clare Cavanagh 221

Last Poems and Ars Moriendi Agnieszka Kosinska 230

"The Stakes in His Poetry Are Really High": Interviews with Robert Hass Cynthia L. Haven 235

A Selected Milosz Bibliography 263

Contributors 267

Index 275

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