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Zbigniew Herbert (1924–1998)

Author of The Collected Poems: 1956-1998

76+ Works 1,486 Members 12 Reviews 19 Favorited

About the Author

Zbigniew Herbert: October 29, 1924 - July 28, 1998. Polish poet and playwright Zbigniew Herbert was born in 1924. His works have been translated in most European languages. His awards include the Jurzykowski Prize (1964), the Austrian Government Prize for European Literature (1965) and the Petrarch show more Prize (1979). He created the character of Mr. Cognito. Herbert died in Warsaw in July, 1998. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Zbigniew Herbert

Image credit: Wiadomosci Literackie

Works by Zbigniew Herbert

Barbarian in the Garden (1962) 189 copies
Selected Poems (1977) 139 copies
Mr. Cogito (1974) 128 copies
Elegy For The Departure (1990) 83 copies
The King of the Ants (1999) 74 copies
Labirynt nad morzem (2000) 43 copies
Epilog burzy (1998) 15 copies
Napis (1967) 12 copies
89 wierszy (1998) 11 copies
Der Tulpen bitterer Duft. (2001) 9 copies
Rovigo (1992) 9 copies
Dramaty (1997) 7 copies
The King of the Ants (2018) 7 copies
Kyynelten teknologiasta (2005) 7 copies
Hermes, pies i gwiazda (1997) 7 copies
Poesía completa (2012) 6 copies
Struna światła (1994) 6 copies
Studium przedmiotu (1996) 5 copies
Gedichte (1973) 2 copies
Bajki (polish) (2009) 2 copies
Gesammelte Gedichte (2016) 2 copies
I hjertet av tingene (2017) 2 copies
Wybor poezji (2018) 2 copies
Korespondecja (2002) 2 copies
Poezje (1998) 2 copies
Redresse-toi et va (1995) 2 copies
Korespondencja 1949-1967 (2002) 2 copies
Varvarin u vrtu (1990) 1 copy
Naklon moje sjenke : (2023) 1 copy
Poezje : Gedichte (2006) 1 copy
Poslání pana Cogito (1991) 1 copy
Versuri 1 copy
Report From A Town Under Siege (1984) — Author — 1 copy
Moć ukusa 1 copy

Associated Works

Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993) — Contributor — 336 copies
The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 311 copies
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 141 copies
Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (1684) — Contributor — 69 copies
Contemporary East European Poetry: An Anthology (1983) — Contributor — 40 copies
Antaeus No. 69, Fall 1992 (1992) — Contributor — 6 copies
Diabli Wiedzą Co... — Contributor — 4 copies


Common Knowledge



If I judge poetry on emotional evocation, meaningfulness, and clarity (okay, I do), then this collection is extraordinary. Through the character of Mr. Cogito (the "Mr." evoking Sancho Panza to the "Cogito"'s Don Quixote, as implied in the second poem here, "Mr. Cogito's Two Legs", a poem about the split in human nature between sometimes reckless bravery and sensible holding back), Herbert addresses many facets of existential being, particularly though not exclusively as present in a repressive society like communist era Poland. These poems stimulate a lot of thinking about man, imperfect creature that he is, and his existence in a fallen world.

I read the translation by Alissa Valles, not the Carpenters, and found it well done. Technically most of the poems make use of short lines, and the not so short lines use fairly frequent caesuras, or pauses in the middle of a line (here without punctuation), which I understand to be a notable feature of Polish poetry in general. The poetic diction is clear and precise.
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lelandleslie | 1 other review | Feb 24, 2024 |
I picked up this translation years ago in a book swap somewhere in eastern europe. The entire book was lovely, but the apocryphas in particular have stayed with me long after my memory of the details faded.
Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Herbert's poetry can be challenging to read sometimes, but is worth the effort. There are gems in this collection. His works range from profound to humorous. He writes in a free verse style entirely devoid of punctuation in most cases. He also writes some prose poems, which are also excellent.
bness2 | 4 other reviews | May 23, 2017 |
So far I've read only Mr Cogito, from 1974, but I feel comfortable saying that it's one of the better books of late twentieth century poetry I've read. Harder--not more difficult, harder--than a Milosz, more intellectual and open to the world (the actual world, I mean, i.e., other people, ideas, history etc) than the current crop of American chamomile tea sipping navel-gazers, but eminently readable? Yes, that's more or less my ideal for poetry. Recommended for anyone who's ever tried to read, or has read, Berryman's dream songs and kind of wished they were a little more comprehensible. Particular favorites: Mr Cogito's Abyss; Mr Cogito's Game; Mr Cogito on Upright Attitudes.… (more)
stillatim | 4 other reviews | Dec 29, 2013 |



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