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...
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