The New Century

Paper Text – $21.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2633-6
Publication Date
October 2009
Page Count
120 pages
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.5

The New Century

Ewa Lipska, translated from the Polisyh by Robin Davidson and Ewa Nowakowska

Since the publication of her first book in 1967, Ewa Lipska has been among the most acclaimed of contemporary Polish poets. Yet, to date she has not enjoyed the same popularity in the United States as her fellow Poles Wislawa Szymborska, Czeslaw Milosz, and her contemporary Adam Zagajewski. The New Century: Poems, a selection of her recent work, introduces to an American audience the work of an underappreciated master.

Although Lipska’s work displays an acute awareness of history and politics, she’s nonetheless most concerned with individual experience and the most difficult philosophical questions of evil. Lipska is capable of being awed by beauty despite the deep pessimism that flows through her poems, including the failure of language itself to have any ameliorative effect on human experience.

Surreal, skeptical, and laced with wit, Lipska’s poetry, like that of Milosz and Szymborska, seems to effortlessly achieve a kind of hard-won and gracefully wielded authority that tells us something essential about the legacies of the twentieth century’s horrors.

About the Author

Ewa Lipska was born in Kraków in 1945. She is the author of nineteen books of poetry and winner of numerous major literary awards, including the Polish PEN Club’s Robert Graves Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. Collections of her verse have been translated into fifteen languages. She lives in Vienna and Kraków.

Robin Davidson is a poet, translator, and assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Houston–Downtown. In 2003–2004 she served as the Fulbright professor of American literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.

Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska is a poet and translator living and teaching in Kraków, Poland. She is a graduate of the Jagiellonian University’s Institute of English Philology. Her poems were recently selected by Adam Zagajewski to be featured in Zeszyty Literackie as the work of one of Kraków’s emerging younger poets.


"The world of Wea Lipska's poetry is a world of madness, of unpredictability, a world from which nothing good can be expected. Why then in reading these poems do we experience, in spite of everything, the joy and desire of being alive even more intensely? That is the question!"  —Wislawa Szymborska