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Adam Zagajewski; Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Asymmetry Download image

ISBN10: 0374538735
ISBN13: 9780374538736

Trade Paperback

96 Pages



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One of the most vibrant voices of our time, Adam Zagajewski is a modern master of the poetic form. In Asymmetry, his first collection of poems in five years, he revisits the themes that have long concerned him: the enduring imprint of history, the beauty of nature, the place of the exile. Though as sanguine as ever, Zagajewski often turns to elegy in this deeply powerful collection, remembering loved ones he’s lost: a hairdresser, the philosopher Krzystzof Michalski, and, most poignantly, his parents. A moving reflection on family, the sublimity of everyday life, death, and happiness, Asymmetry is a magnificent distillation of an astounding poetic voice.


Praise for Asymmetry

"Zagajewski's poems pull us from whatever routine threatens to dull our sense, from whatever might lull us into mere existence."—Philip Boehm, The New York Times Book Review

"Zagajewski's poems are visually rich [and] startlingly fresh . . . Poetry and thinking for Zagajewski have to do with learning how to see clearly. His poems celebrate those rare moments when we catch a glimpse of a world from which all labels have been unpeeled . . . Indispensable."—Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books

"[Zagajewski's] poems enter and possess you quietly. It is the quiet of a train halted on its line. The engine throbs like a pulse, and there is always music in these verses, or the echo of music . . . His is the quiet voice at the corner of immense devastation of an obscene century, more intimate than Auden, yet as cosmopolitan as Milosz, Celan, or Brodsky."—Derek Walcott, The New Republic

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Adam Zagajewski; Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh

Adam Zagajewski was born in Lvov in 1945. His previous books include Tremor; Canvas; Mysticism for Beginners; Without End; Solidarity, Solitude; Two Cities; Another Beauty; A Defense of Ardor; Eternal Enemies; and Unseen Hand—all published by FSG. He lives in Kraków, Poland.

Clare Cavanagh is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Northwestern University. Her book Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. She is currently working on an authorized biography of Czeslaw Milosz. She has also translated the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska.

Jerry Bauer

Adam Zagajewski