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New and Collected Poems 1931-2001


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About 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 attache. 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.


As complete a representation of the Nobel prize winner's work as you are likely to find. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"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, and Milosz'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.

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