Biography of Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998)

Poet and Polish playwright, born in Lvov (now Ukraine) on October 29, 1924, and died in Warsaw on 28 July 1998. It was considered one of the most valued Polish poets of the 20th century.

He studied Polish Philology in Krakow, Torun and Warsaw. After the entry of the Red Army in Lvov, he/she fled to Kraków and joined the underground movement organized by the army of the Interior, the main grouping of the anti-fascist resistance. He/She published his first poetic works the make its debut, the remedy of gold and the inscription in the year 1950, the magazine Dzis i Jutro.

Considered "enemy of the people and socialism" in the times of Stalin, had to work until 1950 as a laborer. After the condemnation of the crimes of Stalinism, he/she could resume his literary activity as director of the Tworczosc and Poezja magazines, and since 1970 was Professor of European literature at universities in California. After his return to Poland in 1981, and the proclamation of martial law, Herbert joined the democratic opposition and was one of the main editors of the journal Zapis appearing in hiding.

Poetic creation full of moral concern and attitude spearheaded by Herbert exerted a great influence on the Polish intelligentsia until the fall of communism in 1989. Proof of this is that, after his death, said his fellow countryman and Nobel Prize for literature Wislawa Szymborska, for whom Herbert "was a great poet and thinker who secured a position with its creation forever among the best Polish writers". Another great Polish poet Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski, pointed out that "literature will need long time to heal the wound that has suffered with its disappearance and will never get to redo it all".

For his part, Herbert was defined as a "citizen of the world and heir not only of the Greeks and the Romans, but almost all of the infinite". In the last years of his life he/she became a radical anti-communist and demanded those responsible for the totalitarian regime of reckoning.