Polish Wilno—now Vilnius, in Lithuania—was the city of Czeslaw Milosz’s youth and adolescence. In this collection of essays and reminiscences, written over a span of three decades, the Nobel Prize winning poet traces an informal autobiography against the street map of an extraordinary city—a crossroads of languages, cultures, and beliefs—that lies at the very heart of his internal geography.Beginning with My Streets, available for the first time in paperback, gathers portraits of the writers Aleksander Wat, Dwight MacDonald, and Fyodor Dostoevsky, as well as the great Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg; an exchange of letters from the 1950s with the novelist and diarist Witold Gombrowicz; and a selection of speeches delivered between 1967 and 1987, including Milosz’s Nobel Lecture. These diffuse reckonings, distinguished throughout by the flavor of personality and the aura of place, have a cumulative power—they are quintessential Milosz.
“Few writers in our time can rival Milosz’s ability to render justice to the strange spectacle of the world. We should be grateful for the wisdom of his extraordinary life.”—Jaroslaw Anders, Los Angeles Times Book Review“Milosz really does begin with his streets—the streets of pre-war Wilno, now Vilnius—which he invests with all the magical other-worldliness and evocative power that make his poetry live . . . This is a book well worth dipping into, permeated with arresting thought and observation.”—Adam Zamoyski, The Times (London)
Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) was the winner of the 1978 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature.