Adam Zagajewski calls the Poetry Crisis Line

In memoriam: Adam Zagajewski (1945-2021). May his memory be a blessing.

I have to say a little here about “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” which I find amazing, though I hadn’t heard of Adam Zagajewski before he passed away, for the way it juxtaposes the terrors of the world (viewed distantly) with the beauty (viewed up close). But my wife and son read this cartoon without having read the original poem, and they saw the refugees and the executioners as interacting with one another, rather than two separate examples of the harshness of the world. So to them it was a depiction of a single massacre. And I had thought this was a particularly dark Poetry Crisis Line call, but, uh…not quite that dark.

ROSIE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI (caller): You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere
ROSIE: On the news, yes.
ZAGAJEWSKI: You’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
ROSIE: I can’t talk to you about what happens on other calls.