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Remembering Polish poet Adam Zagajewski

22.06.2022 13:30
A commemorative plaque dedicated to Polish poet Adam Zagajewski has been unveiled on the wall of the house in the southern city of Kraków where he lived for the last 19 years of his life.
Adam Zagajewski, pictured in 2009.
Adam Zagajewski, pictured in 2009. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Jakubowski

City Mayor Jacek Majchrowski said during the ceremony at 7 Pawlikowskiego St. that Zagajewski was not only "a great poet, prose writer, translator and lecturer," but also a "living legend of Kraków" and a part of the city’s spirit.

“A citizen of the world, Zagajewski was for us primarily a citizen of Kraków, an inseparable part of its literary scene, and a co-creator of its intellectual elite and artistic climate,” Majchrowski said.

Zagajewski died in Kraków in 2021 at the age of 75. He is buried at the city's National Pantheon in the crypts of the centuries-old Church of Saints Peter and Paul, a burial site for the most outstanding figures in Polish culture and science.

Born in 1945 in Lwów (now Lviv in western Ukraine), Zagajewski made his poetical debut in 1967, becoming one of the leaders of the New Wave literary movement, also known as the 1968 Generation. In its manifesto, the group stood for, among other things, exposing the lies of the language of communist ideology and propaganda. 

In the 1970s, Zagajewski was a political dissident. Having emigrated from Poland in the 1980s, he lived in France and the United States. In 1988, he started teaching at the University of Houston. Many of his students became experts in Polish literature and some translated Polish poetry.

Zagajewski was the recipient of the 2008 Czesław Miłosz Prize, which is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of Polish-US cultural dialogue and contacts.