Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004), the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980, was a tireless advocate of Eastern European poetry and did much to alert western audiences to its richness. This event aims to heighten the appreciation of Milosz's legacy, focusing on the impact of his poetry, translations and critical writings on British, Irish and American poetry, exploring, among other things, his influence on Seamus Heaney and responses to Philip Larkin, and his attitude to religious faith.
At a juncture when the concept of 'value' is reckoned primarily in economic terms, it seems timely to consider how poetry promotes dialogue within and between cultures, and so promotes other, richer ways of seeing.
George Szirtes was born in Budapest, and came to Britain as a refugee in 1956. A distinguished poet, translator and broadcaster, he has received such major awards as the Faber Memorial, Cholmondeley and T.S. Eliot Prizes. His New and Collected Poems (2009) was Independent Poetry Book of the Year. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
Jerzy Jarniewicz is one of Poland's most highly-regarded poets, translators, and literary scholars. He has published nine volumes of verse since the early 1990s, including Niepoznaki (2000), Oranżada (2005), and Makijaż (2009), as well as studies of Larkin's and Heaney's poetry. He is a Professor of English at the Universities of Lodz and Warsaw.
Michael Parker is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Central Lancashire, whose books include Seamus Heaney: The Making of the Poet (1993), Northern Irish Literature 1956-2006 (2007) and Irish Literature Since 1990 (2009). An essay on Miłosz and Heaney will appear next year in Textual Practice.
Stephen Regan is a Professor of English Literature at the Department of English Studies at Durham University. His publications include essays on W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost, two books on Philip Larkin, and a forthcoming critical study of the sonnet from Shakespeare to Heaney. He is the editor of Irish Writing: An Anthology of Irish Literature in English 1789-1939 in the Oxford World's Classics series.
Cynthia L Haven is an award-winning American literary journalist, whose work has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, World Literature Today, Quarterly Conversation, The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review and the Poetry Foundation. Her books include An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz (2011), Czesław Miłosz : Conversations (2006), Joseph Brodsky: Conversations (2003), and Peter Dale in Conversation with Cynthia Haven (2005). She was a 2008 Milena Jesenská Fellow in Kraków with Vienna's Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen and is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University.