Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry)
Adam Zagajewski was born in Lwów to a family of Polish intelligentsia. When he was four months old, his family was forced to abandon the city of his birth and to move westward, reflecting the newly reshuffled Polish borders. The Zagajewskis settled in the Silesian town of Gliwice, where Adam spent his childhood and adolescence. Throughout these early years, his family kept alive the memory of their hometown: “. . . I spent my childhood in an ugly industrial city; I was brought there when I was barely four months old, and then for many years afterward I was told about an extraordinarily beautiful city that my family had to leave.” Nevertheless, Zagajewski’s sensitivity allowed him to find enchantment even in the unattractive town of his youth.
At the age of eighteen, Zagajewski left Gliwice to pursue a university education in the historic town of Cracow. After receiving degrees in philosophy and psychology at the Jagiellonian University, he worked as an assistant professor at the Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza (University of Mining and Metallurgy). It was during this period that he became the cofounder of the poetic group Teraz (Now) as well as the coauthor of its literary program. The poets of Teraz emphasized the social importance of poetry and its role in reclaiming a language devalued by the rhetorical manipulations of a bureaucratic, totalitarian state. In 1972 Zagajewski became one of the editors of Student. He was also involved in...
(The entire section is 480 words.)
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Biography (Poetry for Students)
Adam Zagajewski was born to Ludwika and Tadeusz Zagajewski on June 21, 1945, in Lwów, Ukraine, a city that was occupied by and integrated that year into the Soviet Union. The family was forced, along with many others in Lwów, to relocate to Gliwice, a Silesian city that had become part of Poland. Zagajewski's father became a professor at a technical university. In 1963, after Zagajewski graduated from high school, he moved to Kraków, where he studied philosophy and psychology at the Jagiellonian University. In 1968, he was offered a position as a teaching assistant in philosophy at the Academy of Mining and Metallurgy.
In Eastern Europe, Zagajewski encountered much political turmoil, including the Polish student protests against restrictions on free speech in March 1968, the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet army in August 1968, the anti-Jewish purge of universities in Soviet-controlled countries in 1967, and the suppression of Polish workers' protests over restrictive labor laws in December 1970. Witnessing these events had a profound effect on Zagajewski and on other writers of his generation, who strongly supported the overthrow of the Communist-controlled government in Poland.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, Zagajewski became part of the New Wave poets, or Generation of 1968 poets, who promoted realistic language in their poetry and explored Communist philosophy and its politics in their work. Zagajewski was soon recognized for his...
(The entire section is 584 words.)