Bronisław Maj

Born in 1953, he is the author of seven volumes of poetry which have won him prestigious literary prizes, a reputation as one of the finest poets of his generation, and a place in many anthologies of contemporary poetry published both in Poland and abroad. Maj is also the author of a book about Tadeusz Gajcy, a poet who died during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. He writes newspaper columns and has edited the literary quarterly Na Glos for many years. He lives in Cracow and teaches at the Jagiellonian University and the School of Creative Writing. Who is the protagonist of his poems? Someone who lives in delight at the beauty of the world but is terrified by its incomprehensible nature. Someone who contemplates the moment of the experienced miracle of belonging, only to turn to a study of the bitter wonder of his own alienation. And also someone who lives in reminiscence and the cherishing of his own private - but also collective and shared - memories, someone suffering from the progressive disease of passing time, especially when someone else's intense presence turns into an overwhelming absence. Finally, it is someone who cannot consent to a poetry that only soothes the pain and accentuates the beautiful without also attempting to penetrate to reality or to describe the "absorbing routineness" of life. The anxieties that are always present in Maj's poetry - a poetry with a voice of great purity - attune it to an elegiacal tone of concern for others, while nevertheless mandating a stubborn insistence on values held dear. These values are called faithfulness, friendship, solidarity, and admiration for things worth admiring.

"Properly speaking, these works are lyrical epiphanies, descriptions of poetic revelation or illumination that make it possible for a moment to grasp the sense of existence in all the complication of its internal contradictions... In all of his poetry, Bronislaw Maj confirms the simple truth that a consistent metaphysical poet cannot, in the final analysis, be anything other than a moralist." (Stanislaw Baranczak)

Bibliography

  • Wiersze, Warszawa: NOWA, 1980.
  • Taka wolność. Wiersze z lat 1971-1975, Warszawa: MAW, 1981.
  • Album rodzinny, Kraków: Oficyna Literacka, 1986.
  • Zagłada świętego miasta, Londyn: Puls, 1986.
  • Zmęczenie, Kraków: Znak, 1986.
  • Światło, Kraków: Znak, 1994.
  • Elegie, treny, sny. Kraków: Znak 2003.

Collected Columns:

  • Kronika wydarzeń artystycznych, kulturalnych, towarzyskich i innych, Kraków: WL, 1997.

Translations:

Slovak:

  • Svetlo a iné básne [Światło i inne wiersze], Bratysława: Drewo a Srd, 2003.