Read Czeslaw Milosz: Selected Poems by Czesław Miłosz Online


Selected Poems: 1931-2004 celebrates Czeslaw Milosz's lifetime of poetry. Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of our time, Milosz is a master of expression and probing inquiry. Life opened for Czeslaw Milosz at a crossroads of civilizations in northeastern Europe. This was less a melting pot than a torrent of languages and ideas, where old folk traditions met C Selected Poems: 1931-2004 celebrates Czeslaw Milosz's lifetime of poetry. Widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of our time, Milosz is a master of expression and probing inquiry. Life opened for Czeslaw Milosz at a crossroads of civilizations in northeastern Europe. This was less a melting pot than a torrent of languages and ideas, where old folk traditions met Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, and Orthodox rites. What unfolded next around him was a century of catastrophe and madness: two world wars, revolutions, invasions, and the murder of tens of millions, all set to a cacophony of hymns, gunfire, national anthems, and dazzling lies. In the thick of this upheaval, wide awake and in awe of living, dodging shrapnel, imprisonment, and despair, Milosz tried to understand both history and the moment, with humble respect for the suffering of each individual. He read voraciously in many languages and wrote masterful poetry that, even in translation, is infused with a tireless spirit and a penetrating insight into fundamental human dilemmas and the staggering yet simple truth that "to exist on the earth is beyond any power to name." Unflinching, outspoken, timeless, and unsentimental, Milosz digs through the rubble of the past, forging a vision -- and a warning -- that encompasses both pain and joy. "His intellectual life," writes Seamus Heaney, "could be viewed as a long single combat with shape-shifting untruth." ...

Title : Czeslaw Milosz: Selected Poems
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ISBN : 21825956
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 129 Pages
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Czeslaw Milosz: Selected Poems Reviews

  • Dhanaraj Rajan
    2019-03-23 00:40

    FOUR AND HALF STARS...I would have added another half star had I known better some of the Polish settings and authors that Milosz mentioned in the poems.A Difficulty:I always have trouble writing review for poetry collections. I am more happy to give a poem or two as an example and thus end my review. With this collection too, I will follow the same technique only with a slight variation. That is, taking the creative liberty to my advantage I will resurrect Milosz and I will try to have a lively dialogue with him.The Dialogue with Milosz:Dhanaraj: I have just read some of your poems and I loved them immensely. Can you tell me about your vocation as a poet and your views on poetry?Milosz: I am no more than a secretary of the invisible thingThat is dictated to me and a few others.Secretaries, mutually unknown, we walk the earthWithout much comprehension. Beginning a phrase in the middleOr ending it with a comma. And how it all looks when completedIs not up to us to inquire, we won't read it anyway.Dhanaraj: Tell me about your beliefs? I think you had tough time to maintain your Faith. Your initial stand on faith reveals much doubt and the late poems reveal a reconciled heart.Milosz:1.We and the flowers throw shadows on the earth.What has no shadow has no strength to live. 2.I am only a man: I need visible signs. I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.3.How could Ihow could I do such thingsliving in this hideous worldsubject to its lawstoying with its laws.I need God, so that He may forgive meI need a God of mercy.Dhanaraj: Suppose if there is no God??????????????Milosz:If there is no God,Not everything is permitted to man.He is still his brother's keeperAnd he is not permitted to sadden his brother,By saying that there is no God.Dhanaraj: Where is the origin of evil?Milosz:All conceivable nonsense,All evilStems from our struggle to dominate our neighbour.Dhanaraj: What is life? How can we live better?Milosz: 1.Life was given but unattainable.2. Unexpressed, untold.But how?The shortness of life,the years quicker and quicker,not remembering whether it happened in this or that autumn.3.And there neither is nor was. Just the moment eternal.I end my dialogue with Milosz here for not wanting to disclose many other poems. I respect Copyright of the author.P.S. The poems I have given as examples are NOT the primary poems of Milosz in this collection. There are some excellent poems on the Horror of World War, His love for his Homeland and Mother Tongue, Poetry, The use of Reason, Marxism/Materialism, History, etc. Go for his collection of poetry and you will be rewarded with well cut out diamonds, that will strike you with their artistic splendour.Also, this Penguin Edition has the wonderful Introduction by Seamus Heaney.Finally: TBR Shelf is getting fatter for Milosz had written many books and this is my first.

  • Melanie
    2019-04-09 23:48

    In 'Ars Poetica?' Milosz eloquently states 'The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will'. I think his poetry does more than see us compromised by these exchanges. His confessions are whimsical, he celebrates his 'my-ness', and his heart that 'holds more than speech does'. Like the best poets he raises more questions than answers, and in doing so reveals all the more.

  • ジェイムズ・n. パウエル
    2019-04-08 04:42

    from "The World"The SunAll colors come from the sun. And it does not haveAny particular color, for it contains them all.And the whole Earth is like a poemWhile the sun above represents the artist.Whoever wants to pain the variegated worldLet him never look straight up at the sunOr he will lose the memory of things he has seen.Only burning tears will stay in his eyes.Let him kneel down, lower his face to the grass,And look at light reflected by the ground.There he will find everything we have lost:The stars and the roses, the dusks and the dawns.

  • Dyani
    2019-04-16 05:39

    Making my way through this book has been joyful. I have loved discovering how Milosz evolved over the course of his career and how he adapted within his work to living in California. He has a wonderful sense of humor as well as the ability to illustrate pain such that we feel along with him but are not swallowed by despair. I write down quotes from 80% of the poems as I read them.

  • James
    2019-04-02 05:51

    His poetry runs the gamut of feeling and thought, of nature and man, of beauty and the truth of poetry. The author of The Captive Mind, a great statement about the effects of totalitarianism, Czeslaw Milosz is even better when his daimon inspires him to write poetry. This selection covers his work over more than seven decades beginning with his early days in Poland, underground during the War, and beyond into his time in America. His survival, overcoming the ordeal of war and suppression gives his poetry a nobility that seems palpable on every page.The following poem resonates with me along with others of his best from the Selected Poems. Just as he fought the battle of ideas, the books are durable soldiers going into battle with a simple "We are,"; confident in the knowledge that they are "more durable than we are". The reference to the dismal twentieth century with its fires and flame is tempered by the optimism of the closing: "Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights."And Yet the Books And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,That appeared once, still wetAs shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,And, touched, coddled, began to liveIn spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,Tribes on the march, planets in motion.“We are,” they said, even as their pagesWere being torn out, or a buzzing flameLicked away their letters. So much more durableThan we are, whose frail warmthCools down with memory, disperses, perishes.I imagine the earth when I am no more:Nothing happens, no loss, it's still a strange pageant,Women's dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

  • Samuel Snoek-Brown
    2019-04-13 21:38

    Outstanding. Not every poem is perfect, but every poem is beautiful, and some are so moving they floored me, made me hiss an inhalation and hold my breath just to contain the reflection, the emotion, the impact. Milosz is amazing.

  • Paul Womack
    2019-04-17 22:54

    I selected this book as an introduction and companion volume to a recent biography of Milosz. It was not a disappointment and now awaits a rereading and my desire to make notes in the margins.

  • Dawn
    2019-04-11 23:34

    Love is sand swallowed by parched lips. (Hymn, p. 35)So I thought of you today and decided to write about Czeslaw Milosz. I thought of suffering, of pains in the gait, things of that nature. Then I thought of you working and suffering, working and suffering a little helplessly, feeling yourself watching yourself through the wide window beside your desk.... children in half-sleep run their hands across the walland draw lands with a finger wet with saliva... (Hymn, p. 36)I thought of historical trajectories. Wars. That real suffering you said people endured. You said this while sleeping and I drew a bird on the wall beside us and asked you to tell me what happened again.A hand with cards drops downon the hot sand. (Outskirts, 55)So it's settled I guess. All of it buried in the hot sand.But I can't help but think that a flash of light is still a flash of light. People breath in the light and settle themselves in the rubbish. They take their coarse phases and smooth them out at night. They bite out the dirt that's under their fingernails. They don't apologize. Why should they? Because when a poem is written in Warsaw, you know that you don't know. You know not to ask. And you also know to keep reading it, again and again.

  • James Klagge
    2019-04-13 22:30

    From a poem "On Angels": I have heard that voice many a time when asleep and, what is strange, I understood more or less an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue: day draws near another one do what you can. Another poem "Gift": A day so happy. Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden. Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers. There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess. I knew no one worth my envying him. Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot. To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me. In my body I felt no pain. When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails. While I myself do not garden or live near the sea, I run and live near the mountains.

  • Marie
    2019-03-22 00:33

    Lithuania"There is no one between you and me and to me strength is given.""On the day the world ends those who expected thunder and lightning are disappointed.""As befits human beings, we explored good and evil.""Love no country: countries soon disappear: Love no city: cities soon rubble. Do not love people: people soon perish. Or they are wronged and call for your help. "Do not gaze into the pools of the past, Their corroded surface will mirror a face different from the one you expected.""Life was given but unattainable.""It's incredible that I die before I attain.""I thought that all I could do would be done better one day."

  • Heidi
    2019-04-18 01:51

    For some reason, every time I read Czeslaw Milosz, I end up crying, and usually over the strangest phrases. It isn't easy to read Czelaw's poetry, but it is well worth it. His poetry is detailed and evocative. Sometimes, when I am in an "earthy" mood and need some hearty sustenance, I'll open this book and read. His poems can be very long... A Treatise on Poetry is book-length...but his longer pieces inevitably touch me to the point of tears as I read. Every poem draws me into part of this world, or takes me into strange places that I start out unfamiliar with, but end up entranced by reading. This is one I keep on nearby shelf, for easy access, as I pick it up frequently.

  • Carly
    2019-04-14 05:30

    I struggle so much with poetry, as a general rule. When reading poetry doesn't feel like a chore, that's how I know I've found a poet that I connect with (hello, Dickinson!). I am a long-form kind of person - essay, narrative, novel, non-fiction works. Poetry and I, for whatever inexplicable reason, have just never jibed completely. Not in writing nor reading. This says much about me and my own limitations, and nothing about the quality of poetry that exists in the world.However, I can appreciate Milosz, deeply. His imagery is powerful and he's clearly a poet of great depth, feeling and talent. I enjoyed these poems greatly.

  • James
    2019-04-13 22:51

    from "The World"The SunAll colors come from the sun. And it does not haveAny particular color, for it contains them all.And the whole Earth is like a poemWhile the sun above represents the artist.Whoever wants to paint the variegated worldLet him never look straight up at the sunOr he will lose the memory of things he has seen.Only burning tears will stay in his eyes.Let him kneel down, lower his face to the grass,And look at light reflected by the ground.There he will find everything we have lost:The stars and the roses, the dusks and the dawns.

  • J.
    2019-04-20 21:28

    As is almost always the case, I liked the early, more frantic work better than the later, more poised work. He becomes more and more pious in his works as he gets older so that by the end of "Last Poems," he's praising and praising endlessly-- the critical or questioning voice gone entirely from his exploration of religion. That's a turn off for me. Still, the first 50 pages or so hum with power. Those first 100 pages are what poetry is all about: powerful, concrete images as metaphor, and a probing sense of curiosity mixed with revulsion and underlined by wonder. Recommended.

  • Nikki
    2019-04-18 00:32

    Milosz lived in Poland during the Holocaust/WWII and a lot of his writing is from the perspective of a non-Jew reflecting on this depressing experience. His poetry is pretty and simple - I prefer the stuff he wrote later in life. Overall, it's not full of superfluous description and metaphor - I like that. This collection covers his writing from 1932-2003 (dude died in 2004). I read this in four days. Don't do that. They're talking about a bunch of abandoned piglets that are now at the Humane Society and now I'm distracted.

  • Lawrence
    2019-03-29 00:36

    I am not sure that I have ever read poetry of such authority and sincerity, without cant or artifice. I am very happy that I have not passed through life without reading it. I did not understand every word, but what I did comprehend was enough for a first reading: the profound concern for the particular, the recognition that each thing and person is one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable, the indifference to generalities, the nostalgia. I will read all these poems again. I appreciate Mr. Haas' putting this all together for me.

  • ダンカン
    2019-03-27 03:50

    This is probably the first time I could not finish a book. Czeslaw Milosz's Selected and Last Poems 1931 - 2004, for me, it was difficult to appreciate. Maybe its the language. Maybe its the translation. I had trouble grasping its meaning. Do not get me wrong, there are some passages I do enjoy but most of it I was pretty lost. I will get back to reading it again, when I am ready. I will change my rating as well if my understanding has increase. Until then, I am not ready yet.

  • Roger DeBlanck
    2019-03-22 01:34

    The poetry of Czeslaw Milosz makes intense inquiries into the peril and suffering of the human condition. He confesses the dilemma he feels towards the cruelty of reality that, as a poet, he must use to find his subject matter. But his duty is to use his verse as a means to confronting atrocities in order to give voice to the vanquished and the oppressed.

  • Michael
    2019-04-13 01:43

    I’m very glad I read these poems. Milosz’s skill, his thoughtfulness, his life at the crossroads of some of our world’s most important moments all reveal astonishing realities of life and thought and soul. His struggles with faith are honest and ring true. He is not facile, but he is engaging. I loved these poems.

  • E.S. Wynn
    2019-04-19 00:39

    I like Milosz-- his poetry is very beautiful and well crafted, fascinating and full of wisdom that only comes with the kind of life that the man lived, but I had a hard time with the consistent love affair he seems to have with oblivion after death.

  • Hueyyun
    2019-03-31 02:51

    Favourite new poet; enjoyed his "To Raja Rao" and his themes on exile and God. Read his interview after your read the poems:

  • Lizzie
    2019-04-01 02:58

    I was pretty into this volume in high school, which I think is now out of print in favor of selections that cover the remainder of his life. (I had this around 1998 or so.) I remember particular favorites were "Conversation with Jeanne" and "A Poem for the End of the Century".

  • Kenneth
    2019-03-24 05:52

    I've read at least one work by every Nobel Literature Laureate, and, with the exception of St. John Perse, I can think of no poet less deserving of that award than Milosz. This is less a review than it is a warning beacon attempting to dissuade you from crashing on the rocks.

  • metaphor
    2019-04-14 03:57

    We learned so much, this you know well :how, gradually, what could not be taken awayis taken. People, countrysides.And the heart does not die when one thinks it should,we smile, there is tea and bread on the table.

  • Ryan Williams
    2019-04-03 00:57

    Rather repetitive: you can only watch someone piss and moan so many times about a God they can't fully believe in yet can't stop using as a stick to beat others with. Surprised 'Return to Krakow in 1880' didn't make the cut.

  • Thomas
    2019-03-22 22:49

    Hands down my favorite Lithuanian poet. (Are there any others?)

  • George Deoso
    2019-03-25 05:45

    Few years from now I will pick this book up again and hopefully understand what those beautiful lines really mean.

  • Peter
    2019-03-24 04:58

    I will show you a lifetime's work in a handful of stars.

  • Michelle
    2019-04-07 23:44

    I'm in love with him and these poems that celebrate life now. Poems that condemn ignorance and help us to see the beauty of life as it is and not as we would pretend it.

  • Merinde
    2019-04-01 22:30

    I just love Miłosz a lot. Poetry doesn't have to make you feel better to be good, but his poems do make me feel better and they also happen to be very good.