Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz Rozewicz

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9780393345551: Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems of Tadeusz Rozewicz

"An anti-poet relentlessly, even ruthlessly determined to tell the truth, however painful it may be."―Edward Hirsch

Widely held to be the most influential Polish poet of a generation that includes Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska, Tadeusz Rózewicz gives voice in the sharpest, most disturbing way to the crisis of values that has plagued our civilization. Joanna Trzeciak's new translation displays Rózewicz's supernatural simplicity, his stark diction and sudden turns.

From "regression into the primordial soup"
     finally I too came into the world
     in the year 1921 and suddenly . . .
     atchoo! time passes I am old and forgot where I put my glasses
     I forgot there was
     history Caesar Hitler Mata Hari
     Stalin capitalism communism
     Einstein Picasso Al Capone
     Alka Seltzer Al Qaeda

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About the Author:

Tadeusz Rózewicz was born in Poland in 1921. He is a major poet and playwright.

Joanna Trzeciak's translations include Miracle Fair: Selected Poems of Wislawa Szymborska, winner of the Heldt Translation Prize. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Edward Hirsch has published seven books of poems, including Special Orders. He lives in New York City.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* High among the many brilliant Polish poets in the generation most affected by WWII stands Rózewicz, who turns 90 this year. Unlike the 10-years-older Czeslaw Milosz (a friend), who was deliberately literary, Rózewicz has been an “antipoet,” for whom the formal devices of traditional poetic beauty were murdered in the war. He strives to write the truth of our times, at the center of which is the Holocaust of the Jews. This retrospective collection begins with terse, elliptical poems first collected in 1947, which with longing and brusqueness report and reflect on what the war destroyed. None of them is more starkly beautiful than the first, “Rose”—the name he gave a young Jewish woman who perished and also a symbol of perished poetry. While Rozewicz’s style opened up, so that his latest poems include the longest ones, Rose and the trains to the death camps that he saw recur constantly, often juxtaposed with what has happened to his friends and the world since—aging, death, and new assaults on humanity, such as mad cow disease and revived Polish anti-Semitism. Highly personal and raconteurish, Rozewicz’s late verse most resembles Charles Bukowski’s among his American contemporaries, and not inaptly, for both contain, inflected with anger and humor, the saddest music in the world. --Ray Olson

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