No. 4




Boleslaw Lesmian

Boleslaw Lesmian was born a Polish Jew in Warsaw in 1877 and educated at St. Casimir University in Kiev where he was arrested by the Tsar's police for his writings and political activities. His first poems were written in Russian and published in Moscow magazines. For most of his life he was considered a minor poet and did not receive critical acclaim, producing only three books of poetry: Sad rozstajny 1912 ( Orchard at the Fork), Laka (Meadow) 1920 and Napój cienisty (Potion in the Shade) in 1936. It was not until after his death in 1937 that there was an arousal of substantial interest with the posthumous publication of his last book of poems, Dziejba lesna 1938 (Forest Hub). 
The work of Boleslaw Lesmian is in the opinion of many, one of the greatest achievements in the annals of Polish poetry. Lesmian turned to Symbolism and the work of the philosopher Bergson, going on to produce a manifesto for the symbiosis of the constructs of poetics with that of the world around him. He saw the role of poetry as one of conveying the turbulent flux between the material and the sprirtual, which was reflected in his incomparable originality of language, the highly creative means of drawing on Polish folk themes and the life-force of nature. Towards the end of his literary output, he turned to metaphysical themes exploring manís faith and his place in the cosmos.


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