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Widely recognized as one of the most important figures of Polish literature (Adam Zagajewski calls him the "eternal fine-tuner"), Cyprian Norwid immerses the reader in his inventive and idiosyncratic verse in this stunning and engaging selection from his most revered poems, including the celebrated Vade-mecum. True to its Latin invitation, “go with me,” Vade-mecum invites the reader to accompany Norwid on a journey through historical moments and timeless questions. We witness Norwid decrying the money-grubbing city folk of London, befriending the composer Chopin, whom he meets during his travels in Europe and America, and lamenting the death of a friend. Lyrical, moving, and often very funny, these poems will serve as an evocative glimpse into the world of a major poet.
No translation is a final one, but it is my sincere hope that I have risen to the task, at least in some measure, as has Stanisław Barańczak and others in the United States, and Adam Czerniawski and others in Great Britain, in giving the English reader the opportunity to become acquainted with one of Poland’s greatest poets.
Authors whose publications were consulted in translating the poems in this volume
Gomulicki, Juliusz Wiktor
Poignant. . . . flows onto the page with a melodic rush, conveyed in Borchardt’s nuanced rhymes and assonances. . . . Off the page leaps surprise after surprise."
—The Arts Fuse
One of Europe's greatest poets and thinkers. We are all deeply indebted to him. . . . Norwid left an opus from which shines the light that lets us more deeply penetrate the truth of our being as human persons. . . . He insistently reminds us that without heroism humanity ceases to be itself. Cyprian Norwid was the man of hope."
—Pope John Paul II
One of the greatest world poets of the nineteenth century."