Cynthia Haven: My never-before-published Q&A with Adam Zagajewski

Cynthia Haven in her blog:

I wrote about poet Adam Zagajewski, who died last weekend at 75, for the Poetry Foundation about a decade ago. The published article, “Risk, Try, Revise, Erase,” wasn’t a Q&A, but I sent him some questions anyway, for the fun of it. Some of his replies were included in my article, but my questions were more guided by my interests and curiosity than focused journalistic intent.

That’s why this interview was never published before. It didn’t seem polished enough or grand enough. But I can’t get my friend out of my mind today. So the Book Haven provides me an opportunity to share these outtakes with a very gifted poet who left us too soon. He was one of the reasons I wanted to go back to Kraków, and now it’s hard to imagine the city without him. It is said that he lived in the shadow of poetry giants, but he also became one, and on his own his quiet terms. (A week or ago I wrote about sculptor Jonathan Hirschfeld’s sculpture of Miłosz. I also share his portrait of Adam above, circa 1990, in the same spirit of the moment.)

Q. First, a simple question from my own personal interest. I love your poem “Three Angels.” It takes place on St. George Street – I take it that’s in Kraków?   Did you have any particular bakery in mind when you wrote this poem?

A. No, there’s no bakery in the St. George Street. Actually there’s no St. George Street in Krakow–there’s a St. John Street, though. I like sometimes small shifts like that: I’m close to reality but not too close. And there are many bakers in Krakow (bread is good here).

More here.