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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