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Eternal Enemies: Poems

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  163 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The highway became the Red Sea.
We moved through the storm like a sheer valley.
You drove; I looked at you with love.

—from "Storm"

One of the most gifted and readable poets of his time, Adam Zagajewski is proving to be a contemporary classic. Few writers in either poetry or prose can be said to have attained the lucid intelligence and limpid economy of style tha
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I would have hoped for this poet to have a reason to travel to my dark city in December!

I might be wrong, but I think he would have answered phone calls.

I might be wrong, but I think he would not have been t0o busy.

I might be wrong, but I think he might have enjoyed to sign a chair in the Nobel Museum Café.

I am wrong most of the time, but not about him touching me in my modern soul, a long time ago, when I thought I did not like poetry.

I am wrong about many things, but not about the impact of t
Corin Wenger
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Zagajewski speaks from multiple histories that seem to search for a humane world.... or evoke a fragmented and traumatized world in the pieces of today. The book evokes comparisons with Paul Celan, with references to historical trauma of Auschwitz and the struggle to speak after dehumanization. His poetry is invariably small, modest, and personal in nature, not moralistic but ethically concerned, compassionate. Although I have not read much Milosz or Herbert, I believe he was contemporary with b ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
and now you wonder, can
you return to the rapture
of those years, can you still
know so little and want so much,
What do you do all day?” “I remember.
Will poetry’s epiphany suffice,

delight in the staccato of past music,
the sight of a river and air entering
August’s warm towers,
and longing for the sea, always fresh, new.
Or moments of celebration and the sense
they bring, that something has suddenly
returned and we can’t live without it (but we can),
do they outweigh the years of emptiness and anger,
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
You can read some of these poems on google books to see if you like them.
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A collection of short, gently voiced poems that gathers force as it goes, as if Zagajewski's limpid lines, humility and soft unraveling of the resonance of places, moments and people that preoccupy him here begin to alter somehow the air itself. It's quite a lovely encounter in that way. It IS poetry of a certain kind -- unshowy with its metaphors or leaps of imagery, that lets a memory or a scene gradually reveal itself and its potential, where the idea is always hinged to the plain thing. I mo ...more
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it

Adam Zagajewski is often compared to the Polish poet Czeslaw Miloscz: both write of the proximity of history and memory in their native Poland, and both are seen as the preeminent writers to embody the emotions of that country. But where Milocz’s sensibilities developed during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw and his defection from Poland’s communist regime, Zagajewski was born in 1945, and was still an infant when his family relocated to Western Poland. Too young to
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"The territory of truth
is plainly small,
narrow as a path above a cliff.
Can you stick
to it?"
PS: Someone said that reading poetry in translation is like kissing a woman through a veil. I have the feeling that the veil of here was quite thick, and that I would have given the book more points if I had read it in Polish.
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ok... hmm... so...
this may not be my favorite Zagajewski collection?
But, I'll just say it: I'm a fan. Really.
This book is quiet. Will not "come after you."
But if you go after it, and if you're willing
to spend the energy, there is gold in here.

Just s l o w d o w n . . .
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zagajewski is in my opinion the better and dark version of Szymborska. This collection takes us to different places and accompanies us in a beautiful language. It includes a wide range of poems, all connected to locations and enchanting with the charm of old buildings where the painting already comes down a little and old trams squeaking when turning around a corner.
Amanda Carver
Dec 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This would be four stars all the way MINUS ABOUT 30 PAGES of not-great poems that couldn't at all stand with the great poems. Seriously, poets--80 pages should be the UPPER LIMIT. 116 is slightly obscene.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
although Zagajewski isn't really very well known, I think he is one of the best poets alive. He is clear, precise & always current. His latest collection is filled with poems about cities, places, friends & important poets & writers.
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Iris by: Raintaxi Review of Books
Zagajewski takes your hand, leading you to an effervescent sort of calm place; his poems are spare and warm, intelligent and sensory. A beautiful volume of short voyages (few of these poems surpass one page). Clare Cavanagh finesses the translation.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a wonderful collection of poetry that I thoroughly enjoyed. every single poem was laced with deep thoughts and meaning that I find simply beautiful. I did not expect myself to be so drawn into his poetry, it is definitely a collection that I'll go back to on good days, bad days... any day.
Agatha Donkar
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2008
Whoever does the collection development for the CHPL's poetry is A+ at it -- I tend to only read poetry off the new books shelf, and there hasn't been a bad collection.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I lived under a rock before I read Zagajewski.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Zagajewski's poems keep me rapt. He write a lot about cities and streets and location is this one, which is kind of his thing, but as always he delivers some amazing poetry.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My favorite of his to date. This book felt like such a cohesive whole, a perfectly contained paradigm where I made every leap he wanted me to make.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I bought this one at poetry bookshop in Boston. The saleswoman told me that Polish men are just as inexplicably alluring as the Polish poets.
Tyler Malone
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
With all my soul -- read those words, and if they have the power to convince you of anything, then maybe you'll enjoy Eternal Enemies. Okay, with all my soul, I wanted to enjoy this collection. So, in good poetic faith, I'll give those book another read. Reading poetry aloud shouldn't bore you, and some of the lines have true, condensed power. Maybe I'm just tired of reading poetic allusions to classic music, composers, aural power.


Poetry--how to put it?--
makes life rounder,
fuller, prouder,
Isla McKetta
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
"We don't, we can't know, / if we'll be saved, / if our microscopic souls, / which have committed no evil / and likewise done no good, / will answer a question posed in an unknown tongue."

A lovely book. This covers more quotidian happenings and less of his historical commentary that I so deeply love, but the poetry is there. It merits a re-read, for as Zagajewski writes, "If only we read poetry as carefully as menus in expensive restaurants..."
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
I will admit that I am not completely finished reading this; I probably have 10 poems left to read. I was disappointed with this book. I love Zagajewski, but I would say 70% of these need editing. Many of the poems could be awesome, but they're peppered with trite language. If you have read Zagajewski before, I recommend starting with one of his earlier books.
Danny Daley
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
I bought this book on a whim, as I often do with poetry, and was engrossed with a few of the poems. However, the collection was inconsistent, and I became bored making my way through the collection.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Very good poetry! Lucid but meaningful, and well translated. Zagajewski is a qualitative poet who deserves a Nobel Prize. Not only poetry readers but aspiring poets themselves can learn something from Zagajewski and should try to learn something.
D. Pow
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
2nd reading
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous. Well worth the wait from his last book.
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Jan 15, 2016
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Sep 29, 2017
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Adam Zagajewski is a Polish poet, novelist, translator and essayist. He was awarded the 2004 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

The Zagajeski family was expelled from Lwów by the Ukrainians to central Poland in 1945.
In 1982 he emigrated to Paris, but in 2002 he returned to Poland, and resides in Kraków.
His poem "Try To Praise The Mutilated World", printed in The New Yorker, became famou
More about Adam Zagajewski...
“IMPOSSIBLE FRIENDSHIPS For example, with someone who no longer is, who exists only in yellowed letters. Or long walks beside a stream, whose depths hold hidden porcelain cups—and the talks about philosophy with a timid student or the postman. A passerby with proud eyes whom you’ll never know. Friendship with this world, ever more perfect (if not for the salty smell of blood). The old man sipping coffee in St.-Lazare, who reminds you of someone. Faces flashing by in local trains— the happy faces of travelers headed perhaps for a splendid ball, or a beheading. And friendship with yourself —since after all you don’t know who you are.” 2 likes
“OLD MARX He can’t think. London is damp, in every room someone coughs. He never did like winter. He rewrites past manuscripts time and again, without passion. The yellow paper is fragile as consumption. Why does life race stubbornly toward destruction? But spring returns in dreams, with snow that doesn’t speak in any known tongue. And where does love fit within his system? Where you find blue flowers. He despises anarchists, idealists bore him. He receives reports from Russia, far too detailed. The French grow rich. Poland is common and quiet. America never stops growing. Blood is everywhere, perhaps the wallpaper needs changing. He begins to suspect that poor humankind will always trudge across the old earth like the local lunatic shaking her fists at an unseen God.” 0 likes
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