9 Dec

"The Witness of Czeslaw Milosz"

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 12/09/04

In his interview with Roger Lundin about poet Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) on Volume 71 of the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, Ken Myers mentioned an article about Milosz published in the November 2004 issue of First Things. The full text of the article is now available through First Things's web pages.

In "The Witness of Czeslaw Milosz," author Jeremy Driscoll attends to an oft-overlooked element of Milosz's greatness: his Christian witness. Driscoll notes that Milosz believed the question of religion ought to be explored in the mainstream of literature and culture, and thus that many of his poems are imbued with his struggle with faith. While the poet did struggle with faith, Driscoll writes, he also felt compelled—partly by the witness of the saints who had gone before him—to remain true to his religious inheritance, trusting the Christian tradition throughout history to answer the questions which were troubling him and the age in which he lived. Endeavoring to remain faithful to that tradition, Milosz wrote—to paraphrase the man himself—gentle verses declaring themselves for life in the midst of horror. He recorded and praised the world's passing beauty, states Driscoll, reminding his readers, in his twilight years, that such beauty comes from a permanent source beyond the world. [Posted December 2004, ALG]