Poet, born in Puławy on 18 February 1945.
He studied philosophy at the University of Warsaw, he contributes regularly to the monthlies "Tworczość" (editor-in-chief since Fall 2004) and "Literatura na Świecie", and has published in most Polish literary and cultural journals. He has won numerous awards, including the 1994 Piętak prize. He has also written prose and literary criticism as well as translated from the English, Russian, Ukrainian and Hungarian.
His early work was regarded as neoclassical, and his poetry is elegant and shows an abundant facility with traditional verse forms. Symptoms of aesthetic change marked the 1983 collection Disembarking on Land, but his true breakthrough volume was Old Acquaintances, which broke away from his regular, formally disciplined traditional lyrics (and especially the sonnets for which he had a particular liking). His lyric subjects seem close to the everyday experience of the poet. He treats the reader as an equal partner in the search for elusive senses and sees poetry as a way of communicating something important about existence.
Zadura's present-day position as a teacher and master for many young poets is founded on the collection Silence. Its unusual opening section ("Verses Written in a Fever") and the long poem "Silence" rely on the fact that the verse flirts with kitsch at every step (rhyme, rhythmical balance, meter) while never permitting kitsch to get out of control or gain the upper hand. Reference to the tradition of the digressive poem permits Zadura not only to deliver a mythologized history of Martial Law, but above all to narrate his private history of that era. As a result, we have poems that begin with facts, pain, ecstasy and tears, and then go on to transform themselves into suggestive visions of those times. The verse is literal because it exhibits a simple faith in everyday words, and elliptical because it creates masterful and arresting poetical compositions on the basis of individual phrases. The final cycle of poems in Silence ("Stolen and Given") offers works arising from the margins of the poet's experience as a translator. Here is where the lyric form is brought closest to prose - here, too, is the root of Zadura's most powerful influence on the sensibilities of poets who began to write in the 1990s.
"The word 'time' occurred very frequently in my first volumes. Similarly, in thinking about what was happening to me, I often used the concept 'by accident'. I sometimes identified the accidental with its opposite - with destiny. What happens by accident can also happen as a work of providence." (Bohdan Zadura)
In 2009 for the volume Wszystko / Everything Zadura was nominated for the Wrocław Poetry Prize Silesius, and two years later he received it for Nocne życie / Nightlife. This volume was seen by the critics as a confession of poetic 'normality' or 'zero state', in which the poet's task is to observe and note, a search limited to language only. At the same time settling in space and time is important, but not necessarily in concrete ones, but often existing only in words (in the poem W samochodzie z Salfeld do Budapesztu / In a train from Salfeld to Budapest twelve out of nineteen verses are taken by names of Hungarian villages; in the title poem five nights are chosen, which become an arbitrary time frame, in which the poet acts: 'nightlife doesn't end / but the beginning of April / has reached its limit' - he writes in the end).
I believe Zadura is most interesting between the means of expression and the media. When he writes his 'internally external' poems. Then, on the one hand we see a poet sensitive to vibrations of contemporaneity, searching for inspiration outside the limits of his language (literally as well as metaphorically), and on the other, an author consciously playing with the literacy he worked on for years. It's a poet who agrees to the poem's limits and, at the same time, wants to overcome them with irony, parody, whim. He is a silent observer and, surprisingly, a chatterer - wrote Karol Francuzik after the publishing of Wiersze zebrane / Collected Poems (Dwutygodnik, 01/2012).
In 2012 a volume of interviews with the poet conducted by, among others, Darek Foks, Adam Wiedemann, Jacek Podsiadło and Andrzej Sosnowski entitled Klasyk na luzie / Classic at Ease.
I believe I understood literature's loss of prestige and meaning, which reached the public opinion after political transformation, a lot earlier. Maybe that's why I never was and never pretended to be a sad revolutionary - says this witty 'classic', who never liked pathos.
Zadura's last poetry book up to date - Już otwarte / Already open (2016) plays the part of an autobiography, diary or silva rerum, where everyday situations are taken out of their usual context and become elements of a poetic reality, where they sparkle with different meanings.
Source: www.polska2000.pl, Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza, updated by NMR, September 2016.
- W krajobrazie z amfor (In a Landscape with Amphorae). Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1968.
- Podróż morska (Sea Journey). Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1971.
- Pozegnanie Ostendy (Farewell to Ostende). Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1974.
- Małe muzea (Little Museums). Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1977.
- Zejście na ląd (Disembarking on Land). Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1983.
- Starzy znajomi (Old Acquaintances). Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1986.
- Prześwietlone zdjecia (Overexposed Snapshots: Poems and Translations). Lublin: Wydawnictwo Lubelskie, 1990.
- Cisza (Silence). Poznan: a5, 1994.
- Wiezień i krotochwila (The Prisoner and the Jest). Kraków: Zielona Sowa, 2001 (more...).
- Ptasia grypa (Bird flu), Legnica: Biuro Literackie, 2002.
- Miedzy wierszami (Between lines), Legnica: Biuro Literackie, 2002.
- Kopiec kreta, Wroclaw: Biuro Literackie, 2004.
- Wiersze zebrane [Collected poems] vols. I-III, Wroclaw: Biuro Literackie, 2005-2006.
- "Proza / Prose", vol. I Opowiadania [Short Stories], Wroclaw: Biuro Literackie, 2005.
- Szkice, recenzje, felietony (Sketches, reviews, columns), vol. I and II, Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2007
- Wszystko (Everything), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2008
- Nocne życie (Nightlife), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2010
- Zmartwychwstanie ptaszka (wiersze i sny) (A Bird's Resurrection), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2012.
- Kropka nad i (Final Touch), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2014.
- Już otwarte (Already Open), Wrocław: Biuro Literackie 2016.