Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Invisible Rope

Although it has been a few years since he passed away and many years since he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, I have yet to see a full-scale biography in English of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz. In the meantime Cynthia Haven has recently edited a collection of portraits and reminiscences by a wide range of individuals who had a close association with Milosz just published by the Swallow Press, an imprint of Ohio University Press, titled An Invisible Rope.

Organized largely chronologically, An Invisible Rope provides glimpses of the man and his work from his student days in Wilno, through his early lonely days of exile, to his final return to Poland to live in Krakow for the last few years of his life. I would hesitate to recommend this to anyone who does not at least have some exposure to both Milosz's prose such as The Captive Mind or Native Realm, as well any of his numerous books of poetry, as the biographical detail in this book is necessarily incomplete. Nonetheless, it is wonderful to have these remembrances of this complicated man by those who knew him best including the translators he worked with most often.

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