Patryk the contributor’s reflections on trade wastepaper (Zbigniew Herbert) Cover Image
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Patryka przyczynkarza rozważania o handlowej makulaturze (Zbigniew Herbert)
Patryk the contributor’s reflections on trade wastepaper (Zbigniew Herbert)

Author(s): Romana Patyk-Lenarczyk
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Literary Texts, Studies of Literature, Philology, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Summary/Abstract: Zbigniew Herbert is not only a poet of irony, but also a careful reader of poetry and its teacher, not infrequently mocking the kind that is too detached from reality, devoid of strength, simplicity, and dignity (“siła, prostota i godność”).Various scattered writings published by the poet within a period of half a century provide a rich material containing explicitly formulated views on basic problems concerning poetry, its role, but also its values, meaning, and the specificity of a poetic word (including the functions of rhymes or metaphors). The aim of didactic contributions becomes to demonstrate that poetry is a basic commodity, necessary for every‑day life, but also to specify its place in culture and in history.As a theorist and a poet, he considers the role of poetry and a poet, as well as the significance of beauty. He discusses with the arty idea of situating the poet above the world: poetry is not a value in itself (and for itself), it emphasizes the value, but appreciates it only when it becomes an attempt at surpassing itself, when it opens up for the other and the reality. Poetic language has to suit ordinary human life, as only then will it be able to control the chaos of reality. Despite the fact that the author of Mr. Cogito distances himself from the youthful optimism concerning the influence of poetry on the fate of the world and the progress of mankind, he does not cease to believe in its power to construct values and to reconstruct the morality of the world. Artistic actions that he undertakes are referred to as „wycieczka aktywnej wyobraźni w poszukiwaniu struktury, porządku” (“a trip of active imagination in search of structure, order”). In all these actions one can discern the wish to penetrate the essence of words and objects, and to rip the language form the semantic crisis (“zapaść semantyczna”) that renders the distinctions between god and evil, truth and falsehood impossible. Herbert demonstrates that poetry is not merely trade wastepaper (as he calls it, “handlowa makulatura”), but an unusual power, which, thanks to its ordinariness, is capable of reconciling man with reality.

  • Page Range: 21-37
  • Page Count: 17
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: Polish