A Polish poet, an American archivist, and two summer reads

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Music to my ears.  The following from Joanna Szupinska in Cosmopolitan Review –  a transatlantic quarterly with a Polish angle:

Edited by journalist and author Cynthia L. Haven, the timely new collection An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz brings together 33 entries by friends and scholars of the poet from the U.S. and Poland who worked closely with him during his life – as students, colleagues, and translators – spanning his entire career. Biographical in nature, each essay reveals delightful anecdotes illustrating the subject’s personality, including his raucous laughter, insatiable appetite for food and whiskey, and deftness at producing cutting insults. Through the collected vignettes, the reader gets to know him as a faithful letter-writer, devoted teacher, and thoughtful translator. Taken together, the volume offers a portrait of Miłosz’s life philosophy as he applied it to the circumstances dealt him by Fate.

The book is organized in a roughly chronological progression: from the subject landing himself in trouble for subversive leftist activities during his student years at Stefan Batory University in Vilnius, to his work as the cultural attaché in the Polish consulate in New York directly following the Second World War, to his swift realization of the new government’s totalitarian approach and Miłosz’s resultant defection to France. We then follow him to his professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, and that Northern California city by the bay would become his home for the next four decades until his eventual, permanent return to Kraków in 2000. Offered up as little stories about the now world-famous poet by people who knew him, An Invisible Rope is a fun, quick read perfect for a few summer afternoons. The reader comes away feeling as if she knows this person as a man – no longer merely the picture of a legend. It compels the reader to revisit even his most well-known works, from The Captive Mind to Road-Side Dog, to be read anew, refreshed by the contextualization of a life lived.

Read the rest here.

I’m not the only one who got a few nice words this month.  Sarah Peasley Miller over at Information Management said this about The Ethical Archivist:

There may be a delightfully subversive message woven throughout The Ethical Archivist, a focused and remarkably readable guide for archivists. Author Elena Danielson, a consultant and archivist emerita of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, provides a tidy summary of the profession as seen through the prism of ethics.  …

Archivists’ role has evolved over the centuries from protecting benefactors’ secrets, to ensuring authenticity for public good, to promoting open and equal access. “The postmodern archivist has a more complex challenge: preserving a sense of trust in the face of massive change,” states Danielson.

As documents are increasingly stored digitally, and the sheer volume of records presents challenges for ensuring accuracy and allowing retrieval, the author addresses myriad implications and observes that archivists, as information brokers, “are at the center of the IT storm.”

How to find?  If you google “The Ethical Archivist Information Management” you can get to a free pdf.  If you go to the journal website, you hit a pay wall.  Go figure. (Elena talks about pay walls in her book….)


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2 Responses to “A Polish poet, an American archivist, and two summer reads”

  1. Sarah Peasley Miller Says:

    The review is available on the ARMA website now, but is password-protected for one month, until the next issue of the magazine comes out. Thank you for mentioning the review here!

  2. Elena Danielson Says:

    thanks Sarah!

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