Poetry and Music: Sarah Rothenberg and Adam Zagajewski

Poetry and Music: Exile and Return
Sarah Rothenberg, piano and poet Adam Zagajewski

Presented in collaboration with Inprint.

Adam Zagajewski is Poland’s most famous living poet, winner of the Kurt Tucholsky Prize, a Prix de la Liberté, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2010, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in a Polish city that became part of the Soviet Union, Zagajewski left his native country 1982 for Europe and the United States, where he was a visiting professor in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing program. In 2002, he returned home to Krakow. Now, Adam Zagajewski returns to Houston to read from works recent and past in a collaborative program of music and poetry with longtime collaborator Sarah Rothenberg. Zagajewski’s books include Eternal Enemies: Poems and Slight Exaggeration: An Essay and Two Cities: On Exile, History and the Imagination.

“I look at a photograph of the city where I was born,
at its lush gardens and winding streets, at the hills,
the Catholic roofs, the domes of Orthodox churches,
where on Sunday the basses sing so mightily
that neighboring trees sway as in a hurricane;
I gaze at the photograph, I can’t tear my eyes away,
and suddenly I imagine that they’re all still alive
as if nothing had happened, they still scurry to lectures,
wait for trains, take sky-blue trams,
check calendars with alarm, step on scales,
listen to Verdi’s arias and their favorite operetta…”
from I Look at a Photograph

“Zagajewski is now one of the most familiar and highly regarded names in poetry both in Europe and in this country.” —New York Review of Books

“Sarah Rothenberg is an outstanding pianist…She finds the unwritten words…and weaves a performance of pure poetry.” — CD Review