Last night Columbia University honored Czesław Miłosz — and launched An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz — with a panel discussion. Left to right: poet Anna Frajlich; scholar and translator Bogdana Carpenter; James Marcus, deputy editor of Harper’s Magazine; Alan Timberlake, chair of Slavic Languages at Columbia; humble moi; and scholar Elisabeth Kridl Valkenier. The photo is courtesy Zygmunt Malinowski, whose photograph of Miłosz graces the cover of An Invisible Rope.
The evening held some surprises — I’ll write more in a few hours. After nine days in chilly, rainy, New York, I’ve just arrived back in beautiful California, where the temperature is warm, the sun is out, and the flowers are everywhere. Hard to believe Miłosz sometimes considered it the landscape of the damned — or, as Clare Cavanagh said, “the landscape of the damned — with good weather.”