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This article is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

Miron Biaroszewski's 'A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising' Chris Miller

WHEN MIRON BIALOSZEWSKI set out to write an account of the Warsaw Uprising, he was already a famous eccentric of Polish literature. His first volume of poetry was published in 1956; he had been unemployed since 1952, and it was a sort of urban hermit whom, in December 1955, the weekly Zycie Literackie (re)introduced to the Polish public, along with another 'new' poet, Zbigniew Herbert. It was a significant moment of the thaw. MiIosz has described Bialoszewski's poetry as exploring 'the Hie of the most undignified objects, … associated with the greyness and monotony of everyday existence' and BiaIoszewski as 'a poet of dirty staircases, rusty pipes, old stoves, kitchen utensils, mouldy walls'. His third volume (1961) 'evolved toward a radical brand of antipoetry … wringing and torturing words, squeezing them into a pulp of inarticulate sounds. He tracks down 'meanings' to aboriginal mutterings and mumblings. So-called 'reality' disappears, supplanted by language as the only cosmos accessible to man'.1 To add to his eccentricity, Bialoszewski had, starting in 1955, made his own apartment into 'The Separate Theatre' in which he and two friends performed material largely of his own composition. A description of this theatre was given in 1959 by Joseph Alsop: 'Nothing quite like this apartment exists anywhere else in the world. Every single piece of furniture has been gravely maimed or wounded at some time in the past. Abstract paintings, strange and menacing constructions of wire and masking tape, great numbers of fragments of Polish baroque church-sculpture, ...

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