An Evening of Polish Poetry / Mumbai
Readings in the Shed Chapter III travelled to St. Andrew’s Centre For Philosophy And Performing Arts, Mumbai on 27th July.
Playwright Ramu Ramanathan read from the works of Wisława Szymborska, Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert, Witold Gombrowicz, Stanisław Lem, Tadeusz Różewicz, Adam Zagajewski, and Sławomir Mrożek.
The evening was conceptualized as a tribute to the city of Kraków, as also to Zbigniew Herbert (2018 has been declared the Year of Herbnert by the Polish parliament).
Kraków is the centre of Polish cultural and literary life. The city was declared UNESCO City of Literature in 2013, becoming only the second non-English language city to hold the title (alongside Reykjavík), and the first in mainland Europe.
Among the many reasons for Kraków’s designation, one is that the city holds two large literary festivals – the annual Conrad Festival and the Miłosz Festival – and hosts an annual Book Fair which attracts more than 35,000 visitors. It was here that Czesław Miłosz (Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980) returned after many years in exile, and it was the home of Wisława Szymborska (Nobel Prize in 1996) throughout her long life until her passing in 2012.
2018 has been declared the Year of Zbigniew Herbert by the Polish sejm (parliament). Herbert was a candidate for the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature along with Witold Gombrowicz, and one of Poland’s most influential poets in the post-War period. He studied in Kraków and much of his work deals with the oppressive nature totalitarianism.