Alvarez, A. Introduction to Selected Poems: Zbigniew Herbert, translated by Czesław Miłosz and Peter Dale Scott. New York: Ecco, 1968. A brief but eloquent and useful introduction to the first volume of Herbert’s poetry to be published in English.
Baranczak, Stanisław. A Fugitive from Utopia: The Poetry of Zbigniew Herbert. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987. A thorough study of Herbert’s poetry, organized around his use of antinomy, or paradox. Baranczak argues that the contradiction between Herbert’s attachment to the cultural heritage of the West and his sense of Eastern European disinheritance lies at the core of his work.
Carpenter, Bogdana, and John Carpenter. “The Recent Poetry of Zbigniew Herbert.” World Literature Today 51, no. 2 (Spring, 1977): 210-214. Refers specifically to Mr. Cogito, which the authors later translated. Discusses Herbert’s relationship to his persona and the differences between this and his earlier work.
Czerniawski, Adam, ed. The Mature Laurel: Essays on Modern Polish Poetry. Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan: Seren Books, 1991. Contains several good essays on Herbert, some devoted to analysis of individual poems. Others discuss his work in relationship to that of such leading contemporaries as Wisława Szymborska and Tadeusz Różewicz.
Heaney, Seamus. “Atlas of Civilization.” In The Government of the Tongue. New York: Noonday Press, 1990. Heaney sees a direct connection between Herbert and Socrates, Plato and the notion of the examined life.