Details

ISBN-10: 1597145491
ISBN-13: 9781597145497
Publisher: Heyday Books
Publish Date: 10/19/2021
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.40" W, 0.90" H

Czeslaw Milosz: A California Life

Hardcover

Price: $26.00

Overview

The first book about the Nobel Laureate’s transformative but conflicted time in the Golden State

Czeslaw Milosz, one of the greatest poets and thinkers of the past hundred years, is not generally considered a Californian. But the Nobel laureate spent four decades in Berkeley–more time than any other single place he lived–and he wrote many of his most enduring works there. This is the first book to look at his life through a California lens. Filled with original research and written with the grace and liveliness of a novel, it is both an essential volume for his most devoted readers and a perfect introduction for newcomers.

Milosz was a premier witness to the sweep of the twentieth century, from the bombing of Warsaw in World War II to the student protests of the sixties and the early days of the high-tech boom. He maintained an open-minded but skeptical view of American life, a perspective shadowed by the terrors he experienced in Europe. In the light of recent political instability and environmental catastrophe, his poems and ideas carry extra weight, and they are ripe for a new generation of readers to discover them. This immersive portrait demonstrates what Milosz learned from the Golden State, and what Californians can learn from him.

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Reviews

"More daring and more rewarding than a straightforward biography of the self-exiled Polish poet, A California Life channels the tensions between Milosz and his adoptive home and lets that friction energize the project. In other words, this is less about a poet and his life and more about how a brilliant artist and thinker steeped in Old World culture learned to exist in the amnesiac fog of California."–Scott Beauchamp, Washington Examiner


"Cynthia Haven's book is delicious. She evokes so much so vividly and so intelligently; for me her pages were a restoration of a richer and less lonely time. And her intuition is right: Czeslaw Milosz and California are indeed a chapter in each other's history." – Leon Wieseltier


"Cynthia Haven's Czeslaw Milosz: A California Life will be a boon to readers who've only recently become aware of Milosz and to those who have been reading him for forty years or more."–John Wilson, The American Conservative


"Czeslaw Milosz: A California Life is as much as portrait of a place as it is of a person. [...] When she writes about California, it's not merely to draw the connection between the land and Milosz. Rather, Haven takes space to revel in the 'hypnotic monotony' of the weather and the 'alien, hyperreal' rocks along Highway 1. Her language is a place of energy, richness, and–fittingly–poetry." –Peter Schlachte, Zyzzyva


"Haven draws on a compendium of knowledge of her subject, having mused on and written about Milosz for more than 20 years. [...] Haven lets us into her thought processes, even when she is questioning them, and lovingly recreates conversations–in the relative present, at a café with Robert Hass [...] and in the recent past, at Milosz's Grizzly Peak home as the poet drinks bourbon and chats with friends into the wee hours." –Los Angeles Review of Books


"Much has been written about the poet, and Haven finds new ways into his life [...] and her examinations of the influence of place on his poetry are insightful. Fans of Milosz's work should give this a look."–Publishers Weekly


"Cynthia L. Haven [...] show[s] how Milosz–thrilled at an early age to read about the wonders of the wide-open American landscape–situated himself so profoundly in his newfound country's culture."–Carl Rollyson, The New York Sun


"My father came to Berkeley in 1960, a towering Polish poet who testified to the murderous apocalypse of World War II, the nightmare of Stalinism, and the glow of the human spirit. Far from a monotonous exile, he gradually discovered in California a home for forty years, a vital inspiration, and a new international audience, leading to the Nobel Prize in 1980. Cynthia Haven tells this complex story from a deep and moving California perspective. Entrancing." –Anthony Milosz, executor of the Milosz Estate

"Czeslaw Milosz: A California Life asks about the meaning of exile, about the possibilities of a new home, about the transformation of a poetic perspective, about alienation and the building of literary bridges. But in the end, the book asks one big, nearly impossible question: How did the great Polish exile Milosz change his newfound home–and how did California, after so many years, transform Milosz's own metaphysics? For it is a metaphysical question, after all: How does a place change the poet, and what does a poet do to shift our perspective on the place? On this unending journey, Cynthia L. Haven is an illuminating guide, one who brings knowledge, precision, and grace. There is much to learn from this book about Milosz and California, yes, but also about poetry and the world." –Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic


"Mining the largely untapped vein of Milosz and California, Cynthia Haven has struck paydirt, a goldmine of perception and insight." –Richard Lourie, author of The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin

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Details

ISBN-10: 1597145491
ISBN-13: 9781597145497
Publisher: Heyday Books
Publish Date: 10/19/2021
Dimensions: 8.10" L, 5.40" W, 0.90" H
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