– November 16th, 2012 by Josh Hardy –
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Poet Zagajewski wows students

Wednesday, Nov. 14 accclaimed Polish poet Adam Zagajewski held a reading with the Colby-Sawyer College community in the Cleveland Colby Colgate Archives.

A 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature nominee, Zagajewski is considered a key writer in the Polish New Wave of the 1970s that protested against strict communist regimes and stood for personal liberty. Associate Professor of Humanities Ewa Chrusciel calls his writing style radiant.

“He doesn’t follow contemporary styles of poetry,” she said, going on to observe that Zagajewski writes about what matters most to him in life without following trends.

Although hosted by the Cultural Events Committee, Chrusciel stressed that much credit belongs to Steve Yarborough and Emerson College for partnering with Colby-Sawyer College to make Zagajewski’s visit possible. After speaking at Colby-Sawyer, Zagajewski spent the next day making an appearance at Emerson before flying back to Chicago where he lectures for a quarter of the year at the University of Chicago. The rest of the year he resides in Krakow, Poland.     

Zagajewski’s reading Wednesday night brought positive reactions from those who crowded into the Archives room. Jacqueline Susmann, ’14, enjoyed the presentation of his work.

“His voice is so musical, and when he’s reading the poetry it feels like a frenzy of emotion and opinion,” she said. “I had read quite a bit of his poetry in preparation for the reading, but nothing I read in my head compares to the way he speaks. “

Amongst the students in attendance was Devin Wilkie, ’13, an English student who found himself engaged with Zagejewski’s readings.

“It was great to hear his poems in both English and Polish, and he seemed to have a good stage presence and energy,” he said.

Leading up to the event’s opening remarks, students and community members quickly filled up the room’s seating and began sitting on the floor. Seeing a sold-out crowd in the Archives room, Chrusciel recognized a larger venue might have better fit everyone but decided that the poetry reading needed to happen in an appropriate atmosphere.

“He [Zagajewski] appreciates beauty and the Archives room is a beautiful room,” she said.


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