Czeslaw Milosz

03rd October 2011 19:00
Kings Place
90 York Way, N1 9AG
An event that celebrated the life and work of Czeslaw Milosz (1911 – 2004), a Polish poet, prose writer and translator of Lithuanian origin, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980.

Held at the British Library, this evening of readings, interpretations and personal reflections explored Milosz's place as a towering figure in the literature and politics of the 20th century, his leading role in introducing modern Polish writers to a Western readership and his ongoing legacy in this centenary year.

It featured poets and speakers coming together across different countries, nationalities and languages: Fiona Sampson, Kornelijus Platelis, Irena Grudzinska Gross and Denis MacShane, chaired by David Constantine.

David Constantine (b.1944), is a celebrated British poet and translator. He is co-editor of the literary journal Modern Poetry in Translation and has been a chief judge for the TS Eliot Prize. His collections of poetry include Watching for Dolphins (1983), Madder (1987), Caspar Hauser (1994), The Pelt of Wasps (1998), Something for the Ghosts (2002; shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize), Collected Poems (2004) and most recently Nine Fathom Deep (2009). He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet.

Fiona Sampson (b. 1963) is an award-winning British poet and translator. She is editor of Poetry Review since 2005 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her collections of poetry include Folding the Real (2001); The Distance Between Us (2005); and Common Prayer (2007), short-listed for the 2007 T. S. Eliot Prize. She was co-editor of A Fine Line (2004), an anthology of new poetry from Eastern and Central Europe, and founder-editor of Orient Express, a journal of contemporary writing from the EU enlargement countries (2002-05).

Kornelijus Platelis (b. 1951), is a Lithuanian poet, essayist and translator. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the weekly journal Literature & Art (Vilnius), and Chairman of the Board of the annual international literary festival, Druskininkai Poetic Fall. He has published seven collections of poetry in Lithuanian, three in English, and one in Italian translation; he is also an author of a book of essays, and Lithuanian translations of Czeslaw Milosz, T. S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Ezra Pound, and others.

Irena Grudzinska Gross (b. 1946) is a Polish historian, essayist, publicist and a member of International Milosz Centenary Committee. She writes about history of literature and ideas, and has edited a number of books on democratization of East Central Europe. Since 2008 she teaches at Princeton University, US. Her latest book "Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky. Fellowship of Poets" (2009) looks at the personal and historical dimensions of the friendship between two great poets.

Denis MacShane (b. 1948) is a British politician, a Member of Parliament since 1994 and served as the Minister for Europe from 2002 until 2005. With an Irish mother and a Polish father, he has long been interested in the interface between the two cultures and is an author of number of articles on the issue, including columns for The Guardian.
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