Transformations of Mr. Cogito: debating Zbigniew Herbert’s poetic legacy – a lecture by Jaroslaw Anders

Thursday, October 6, 2022, 4 PM ET

Transformations of Mr. Cogito: Debating Zbigniew Herbert's poetic legacy - A lecture by Jaroslaw Anders followed by a discussion moderated by Malgorzata Pospiech, Ph.D.

The webinar is presented together with the Polish Program at CUNY Hunter College and is part of the Tadeusz Solowij Lectures of the Kosciuszko Foundation. It is free and open to the public. Spots are limited, and registration is required. In lieu of admission, a donation towards the KF Cultural Fund is appreciated.

Zbigniew Herbert was one of the most recognizable poetic voices of the postwar East-Central Europe. He was hailed for his intellectual and moral clarity, his erudite cultural references, his stoic poise in the face of historical cataclysms, and his imperviousness to the pressures of the communist regime. Some critics noticed, however, a darker, more pessimistic vision of the human condition. After the poet’s death in 1998, literary scholars, biographers, and Polish poets of younger generations have been debating his impact on Polish letters, his continued relevance literary, and the troubled (and troubling) aspects of his personality. Jaroslaw Anders talks about Herbert’s poetic and moral vision, his image of a “citizen-poet,” and some recent controversies about his life and work.


Jaroslaw Anders is a freelance writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of Between Fire and Sleep: Essays on Modern Polish Poetry and Prose (Yale: Yale University Press, 2009) and numerous articles in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and other publications. He has translated several books from English into Polish and from Polish into English. In the past, he served as a writer and broadcaster for the Voice of America and worked in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the U.S. Department of State. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Malgorzata Pospiech, Ph.D., is a writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist, and photographer. She is a published translator, including Arthur Penn in Conversations, 1992-1995 (appearing in 2011); A  Small Town, the novel nominated for the Central Europe Literary Award in 2015; The Seventh Ring ( a novel) and A Notebook (a collection of poems) published in 2016; Ariadna’s Labyrinth nominated for Central Europe Literary Award in 2018 and Fog Over the River Styx (2019). Professor Pospiech is in charge of the Polish language and literature program in the Division of Russian and Slavic Studies at CUNY Hunter College.



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