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AfriGeneas Books~Authors~Reviews Forum

MILOSZ'S ABC'S ~ review

By Czeslaw Milosz
Translated from the Polish by Madeline G. Levine
Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 314 pp.,

[quoting ] "My time, my twentieth century," says Lithuanian-born Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz in this new, eccentric book of prose, "weighs on me as a host of voices and the faces of people whom I once knew, or heard about, and now they no longer exist." In "Milosz's ABC's" those voices are allowed to spill out (in alphabetical order!) in a series of mini-essays, vignettes, portraits of people famous and humble and little philosophical parables. "Milosz's ABC's" captures what is perhaps most characteristic and attractive in Milosz's entire literary output. His writing can be simultaneously a protest against the disappearance of people, objects and images from the physical world and a celebration of time's unstoppable forward movement. At the end of his "ABC's," the author says that "we are all woven out of time," as is our speech, our art and our whole civilization. There is something wondrous, sad, comical and possibly even grand in our noisy passage within the "inconceivable 'now"'--something that deserves the effort and the pain of the journey. Few writers in our time can rival Milosz's ability to render justice to the strange spectacle of the world. We should be grateful for the wisdom of his extraordinary life.
Jaroslaw Anders [ end of quoting ]

Source: The Los Angeles Times

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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