Poetry Read Alikes – Adam Zagajewski
Not long ago I wrote a post titled, How to Find Your Next Poetry Fix, and today I'm going to start a series of "Poetry Read Alikes."
One of my favourite poets is the Polish writer, Adam Zagajewski. I'm quite certain I own everything by him that's been translated into English. Not familiar with his work? Read his poem, "Try to Praise the Mutilated World" on Poetry Foundation. For books, start with Without End, a selected from 2003. Move on to Unseen Hand and External Enemies.
If you like Adam Zagajewski, you might also like Anna Kamienska. Sadly, her book Astonishments is going to be a bit hard to get hold of, but you might try your local library. It would be well-worth tracking down, for poems like "Transformation" or "Gratitude." Kamienska is also a Polish poet as are the next two recommendations. Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska should need no introduction and anyone would find her poems a treasure, perhaps starting with her Poems New and Collected. Next, I would recommend Julia Hartwig whose book In Praise of the Unfinished is one I often take off the shelves.
I'd be remiss not to mention Czeslaw Milosz and Zbignew Herbert here, but perhaps these are too obvious. There is a similar tone occasionally in W.S. Merwin, perhaps. You can hear it in his poem, "Good People" and maybe in "Thanks."
If you like Adam Zagajewski's poems you might also like the poems of Charles Wright. Not because they sound at all alike, but because they're both interested in art, the poets talk about travel, and they dip into the mystical. Start with The World of the Ten Thousand Things, then Negative Blue and more recently Caribou.
This is a very small list of poets you might enjoy reading after reading Adam Zagajewski. But if you have ideas of others and you'd like to add them, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.