Read for yourselves, read for the sake of your inspiration, for the sweet turmoil in your lovely head. But also read against yourselves, read for questioning and impotence, for despair and erudition... and also read those whose darkness or malice or madness or greatness you can't understand because only in this way will you grow, outlive yourself, and become what you are.Adam Zagajewski
Read for yourselves, read for the sake of your inspiration, for the sweet turmoil in your lovely head. But also read against yourselves, read for questioning and impotence, for despair and erudition, read the dry sardonic remarks of cynical philosophers like Cioran or even Carl Schmitt, read newspapers, read those who despise, dismiss or simply ignore poetry and try to understand why they do it. Read your enemies, read those who reinforce your sense of what's evolving in poetry, and also read those whose darkness or malice or madness or greatness you can't understand because only in this way will you grow, outlive yourself, and become what you are.Adam Zagajewski
Try to praise the mutilated world.Adam Zagajewski
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere,
You’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feathers a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
Once in a while it vanishes - in the sense that I become deaf to beauty for a week or two or three. This coming and going of the inner life - because this is what it is - is a curse and a blessing. I don't need to explain why it's a curse. A blessing because it brings about a movement, an energy which, when it peaks, creates a poem. Or a moment of happiness.Adam Zagajewski
Doubt is more intelligent than poetry, insofar as it tells malicious tales about the world, things we’ve long known but struggled to hide from ourselves. But poetry surpasses doubt, pointing to what we cannot know. Doubt is narcissistic; we look at everything critically, including ourselves, and perhaps that comforts us. Poetry, on the other hand, trusts the world, and rips us from the deep-sea diving suits of our “I”; it believes in the possibility of beauty and its tragedy. Poetry’s argument with doubt has nothing in common with the facile quarrel of optimism and pessimism. The twentieth century’s great drama means that we now deal with two kinds of intellect: the resigned and the seeking, the questing. Doubt is poetry for the resigned. Whereas poetry is searching, endless wandering. Doubt is a tunnel, poetry is a spiral. Doubt prefers to shut, while poetry opens. Poetry laughs and cries, doubt ironizes. Doubt is death’s plenipotentiary, its longest and wittiest shadow; poetry runs toward an unknown goal. Why does one choose poetry while another chooses doubt? We don’t know and we’ll never find out. We don’t know why one is Cioran and the other is Milosz.Adam Zagajewski
And now, advice for beginning mystics. Be sober, be intelligent, be educated, rely on the tangible reality as long as you can. Remember that the act of writing is a tiny part of a bigger something. Defend the value of the spiritual experience and if somebody tells you it's an old fashioned notion, laugh loudly and serenely.Adam Zagajewski
Born: June 21, 1945