WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Adam Zagajewski, one of Poland’s greatest poets who wrote a poem that came to symbolize the world’s sense of shock and loss after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, has died in Krakow. He was 75.
Zagajewski’s death on Sunday, which was UNESCO’s World Poetry Day, was confirmed by publisher Krystyna Krynicka. No cause of death was given.
Zagajewski’s poem “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” was published in the New Yorker magazine just days after the Sept. 11 attacks and became representative for the outpouring of grief around the world.
He taught poetry workshops at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University, as well as creative writing at the University of Houston. He was also a faculty member at the University of Chicago.
Poland’s Nobel-winning author Olga Tokarczuk said that students “adored him because he was especially gifted for poetry, he knew how to talk about it.” She said he would read verse with “special, ceremonial intonation that is due only to poetry.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda tweeted that Zagajewski’s death was “sad news and a big loss to Poland’s literature.”
Zagajewski was a leading figure in Poland’s New Wave, or Generation ’68, literary movement of the late 1960s that called for a simple language to relate directly to reality. It was a reaction to poetry praising life under the communist system.