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My Kraków idyll is interrupted

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Living my dream
Adam Zagajewski Poet
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I kept discovering new poets, I read philosophy, I read essays and again, this was neither at school nor at university because I didn't really get much out of my psychology course. But I spent time in libraries, in reading rooms, at home. I was living in student digs because my parents earned too much – my father, because my mother didn't work. By then, my father's financial situation had improved somewhat so I wasn't entitled to student accommodation so I never stayed in student halls of residence only in digs. Later, I was in a slightly better room, but it was also a private let.

And this idyll was also a time of jazz, jazz concerts, jazz sessions lasting until 2:00 o'clock in the morning. I would come back in the night to my digs, to my little room. It was a time of first loves which I won't talk about here. But it was an idyll, an idyll that I didn't know was happening, I didn't realise it was an idyll. I thought this was how it was meant to be but it was an idyll, an idyll of an early passion for poetry, for music and for my development.

Coraz to odkrywam innych poetów, czytam filozofię, czytam eseje i to jest... Znowu, to nie jest w szkole, nie jest na Uniwersytecie, bo z tej psychologii niewiele mi przyszło. Ale to... siedzę w bibliotekach, w czytelniach, siedzę w domu. Mieszkam w... na takiej stancji, bo jednak rodzice za dużo zarabiają – ojciec, bo matka nie pracowała. Ojciec już wtedy był w trochę lepszej sytuacji finansowej – i mi nie przysługuje akademik, więc nie mieszkałem nigdy w akademiku, tylko na stancji, potem w trochę lepszym pokoju też prywatnym. I ta idylla to także jest jazz, koncerty jazzowe, zaduszki jazzowe trwające do drugiej nad ranem. Powrót nocą do... do mojego... na moją stancję, mojego pokoiku. To są pierwsze miłości, o których nie będę opowiadał, i... Ale to jest idylla, to jest taka idylla bez wiedzy, że to jest... bo ja nie wiedziałam, że to jest idylla. Wydawało mi się, że tak musi być, ale to była idylla – idylla takiej właśnie wczesnej pasji do... do poezji, do muzyki i kształcenia się.

Adam Zagajewski (b. 1945 in Lwów) is a Polish poet, novelist, translator and essayist. He was awarded the 2004 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize Lifetime Recognition Award and the 2017 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature. He is considered as one of the leading poets of the Generation of '68 or the Polish New Wave (Polish: Nowa fala) and is one of Poland's most prominent contemporary poets.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: poets, philosophy, student accommodation, jazz clubs, idyll

Duration: 1 minute, 40 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2018

Date story went live: 25 April 2019