In Defense of Passion - Adam Zagajewski
A new volume containing thirteen essays by Adam Zagajewski, written at the end of the previous and the beginning of the present century. It contains above all the sum of the reflections of this outstanding poet, essayist, novelist, and translator on the essence of poetry and art (in the title essay "Obrona zarliwosci" / "In Defense of Passion," "Uwagi o wysokim stylu" / "Comments on Elevated Style, "Przeciwko poezji" / "Against Poetry, "Poezja i watpliwosc" / "Poetry and Doubt"). Additionally, Zagajewski has written about his soul masters - Friedrich Nietzsche, Józef Czapski, Zbigniew Herbert and Czesław Miłosz - provided sketches on places and cities closest to his own heart (Lviv, Krakow, Paris), and closed the book with his essay-confession, "Pisać po polsku" / "Writing in Polish."
"This is a very special manifesto: private, written without a hint of aggression, it is a profession of faith," says Ryszard Krynicki, head of a5 Publishers about Obrona żarliwości / In Defense of Passion. "Contrary to the title of one of his essays - 'Przeciwko poezji' / 'Against Poetry' - this book is a passionate defense of verse. If Zagajewski condemns anything, it is poetry that is shallow and small-minded." According to the author, poetry "is capable of uniting the far and the near, the low and the high, the earthly and divine; it is able to record the stirring of the soul, a dispute between lovers, a street scene in a major metropolis, but it also hears the steps of history, the lies of tyrants, and it does not disappoint in trying times."
All of the texts in this volume reflect the author's belief that spirituality, the inner life of humans, is the greatest of all values. In these texts Adam Zagajewski juxtaposes loftiness with the quotidian, poses questions about the relationship between the world and poetry, questions about the meaning of life.
- Adam Zagajewski
Obrona żarliwości / In Defense of Passion
Wydawnictwo a5, Krakow 2002
186 pages, paperback