Since the publication of her first book in 1967, Ewa Lipska has been among the most acclaimed of contemporary Polish poets. Yet, to date she has not enjoyed the same popularity in the United States as her fellow Poles Wislawa Szymborska, Czeslaw Milosz, and her contemporary Adam Zagajewski. The New Century: Poems, a selection of her recent work, introduces to an American audience the work of an underappreciated master.

Although Lipska’s work displays an acute awareness of history and politics, she’s nonetheless most concerned with individual experience and the most difficult philosophical questions of evil. Lipska is capable of being awed by beauty despite the deep pessimism that flows through her poems, including the failure of language itself to have any ameliorative effect on human experience.

Surreal, skeptical, and laced with wit, Lipska’s poetry, like that of Milosz and Szymborska, seems to effortlessly achieve a kind of hard-won and gracefully wielded authority that tells us something essential about the legacies of the twentieth century’s horrors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810126336
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 01/19/2010
Edition description: 1
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Ewa Lipska was born in Kraków in 1945. She is the author of nineteen books of poetry and winner of numerous major literary awards, including the Polish PEN Club’s Robert Graves Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. Collections of her verse have been translated into fifteen languages. She lives in Vienna and Kraków.

Robin Davidson is a poet, translator, and assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Houston–Downtown. In 2003–2004 she served as the Fulbright professor of American literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.

Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska is a poet and translator living and teaching in Kraków, Poland. She is a graduate of the Jagiellonian University’s Institute of English Philology. Her poems were recently selected by Adam Zagajewski to be featured in Zeszyty Literackie as the work of one of Kraków’s emerging younger poets.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Absurdity of Beauty
Ewa Lipska

Translators' Acknowledgments

Robin Davidson

Four Notes on Ewa Lipska's Poems
Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska


from 1999 (1999)

December 31, 1999
The Albatross and the Engraver
Hannah Arendt
We 1998
When a Great Poet Dies in My Country
The Honor of Tragedy
The Smells of Evil
Watch Your Step
Ericsson, Child
The Holy Order of Tourists
John Keats

from Pet Shops (2001)
Fashion Craze 
The New Century
Pet Shops
Press Enter
The Accident

from (2003)
Number One
A Juicer
No One
September 11, 2001

from Elsewhere (2005)
From a Distance
Plum Cake
The Abyss
Inattentive Moment

from Splinter (2006)
Anthem of Fog
Live Update
That's Why
Dead Stop

from Newton's Orange (2007)
Newton's Orange
Further and Further
Newton's Orange: The Origin
Newton's Orange: Fate
Newton's Orange: Era
In the Poorhouse of Europe
In's Hertogenbosch
At the Poetry Reading
Newton's Orange: Infinity
God May Prefer Doughnuts
A Door Handle
Newton's Orange: Gravity

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