Internationally Acclaimed Poet Adam Zagajewski to Read his Works

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Internationally acclaimed poet Adam Zagajewski—widely known for his poem “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” published in The New Yorker in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks—will be on campus on October 31 to read from his works.

Zagajewski’s appearance is part of UT’s Writers in the Library series. He will participate in an informal chat at 2:00 p.m. in 1210-1211 McClung Tower. His reading begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Hodges Library auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Written a year and a half before the attacks, Zagajewski’s “Mutilated World” became a memorable statement about the tragedy. Critics say it is one of the best-known poems of recent years.

Zagajewski was born in 1945 in Lvov, a predominantly Polish city that became part of Soviet Ukraine shortly after his birth. His family, which had lived there for centuries, was forcibly repatriated to Poland when he was an infant.

Zagajewski has said “Mutilated World” was about a trip he took with his father through some of the Ukrainian villages that the Polish people had been forced to leave.

“This was one of the strongest impressions I ever had,” he was quoted as saying in the Daily Beast. “There were these empty villages with some apple trees going wild. And I saw the villages became prey to nettles; nettles were everywhere. There were these broken houses. It became in my memory this mutilated world, these villages, and at the same time they were beautiful. It was in the summer, beautiful weather. It’s something that I reacted to, this contest between beauty and disaster.”

Zagajewski was a major figure of the Polish New Wave literary movement of the early 1970s and the anti-Communist Solidarity movement of the 1980s. Today, he is considered to be one of the leading poets of Europe.

His books of poetry in English include Without End: New and Selected Poems, Unseen Hand, and, most recently, Eternal Enemies. In 2004 he was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and in 2010 he was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Zagajewski teaches in the Poets and Poetics program at the University of Chicago.

He lives in Krakow, Paris, and Chicago.

Writers in the Library is sponsored by UT Libraries and the Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund.

C O N T A C T :

Marilyn Kallet, director of the Creative Writing Program (974-6947, mkallet@utk.edu)

Christopher Hebert, writer-in-residence at UT Libraries, (974-5401, chebert3@utk.edu)

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