Czeslaw Milosz lived under both of the totalitarian regimes that in large part set the course of international relations in the twentieth century: Nazism and Communism. He was actually born in Czarist Russia, although the son of Polish nationals, and he grew up and was educated in Catholic schools in Poland. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1980 for voicing, in the words of the Nobel Committee, “man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts.”

This group of twenty poems, printed here in the original Polish and in an English translation by the poet himself, was written in 1943 at a time when Milosz was working at an underground press as part of the Polish resistance in Warsaw. He adopted a purposefully naïve voice for the poems in order to “describe the world as it should be seen by children as opposed to the world of horror I knew.” This edition by the Arion Press is limited to 250 copies (plus twenty-five copies hors commerce) and is signed by Milosz. The edition includes a dry-point portrait of Milosz by Jim Dine and is signed by Dine. An introductory essay by Helen Vendler is also included.

 

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