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2011 Milosz Year: Consulate General of Poland dedicates Metro’s “Poetry in Motion/LA” poster commemorating the life of the Polish poet and Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz


Wednesday November 09, 2011

In recognition of Poland's Presidency of the EU Council and in celebration of the 2011 Milosz Year, Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska - Frybes unveiled a commemorative edition of Metro's Poetry in Motion/LA poster inscribed with a poem by Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz (1911 - 2004) at a public reception held Nov. 8 at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles.

  • A collaboration between Metro and the Poetry Society of America, the poster, inscribed with the words of the Milosz poem "Gift," goes on display Nov. 14 aboard the more than 2,200 buses of the Metro fleet that traverse the 1,433 square miles of Los Angeles County.
  • Poetry in Motion/LA poster of a poem by Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz (1911 - 2004) commemorates 2011 Milosz Year centennial celebration of the Polish poet's life.
  • Poet's centenary has inspired an international reflection and literary festival in more than 30 countries.

Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska – Frybes, at left, unveils commemorative "Poetry in Motion/LA" poster honoring poet Czeslaw Milosz
Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska – Frybes, at left, unveils commemorative "Poetry in Motion/LA" poster honoring poet Czeslaw Milosz. At right, Malgorzata Cup, Consul for Culture. Photo by Gary Leonard

The reception followed the Library Foundation of Los Angeles ALOUD program "From Tijuana to Gaza to Bosnia: Rethinking Borders in a 21st Century World," featuring - among others - Krzysztof Czyżewski, founder and director of the Borderland Foundation. year 2011 was declared the Milosz centennial celebration by Poland as a new government was taking shape on the world's stage. The Polish Institute in Rome launched the first of many worldwide tributes to Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz in January.

The opening was followed by a series of major events in Poland and in more than 30 other countries throughout the world from "Flashmob Miłosz" - Mass Miłosz Poetry Reading in the Piazza outside the British Library in London - to The Chicago literary festival entitled "After Miłosz: Polish Poetry in the 20th and 21st Centuries" to an "Anthology of poems by Czesław Miłosz in Japanese" at the University of Tokyo.

Czeslaw Milosz 2011 marks the centennial of the birth of Czesław Miłosz, son of the Polish-Lithuanian borderland, a Polish émigré in France and a citizen of the United States of America. In 1960 he accepted a position at the University of California, Berkeley, and retired as a professor there in 1978. When the Iron Curtain fell, he was able to return to Poland but maintained both the Berkeley and Krakow residencies until the last few years of his life. It is in Berkeley where he was inspired to write "Gift," the poem selected by Metro for the "Poetry in Motion/LA" poster.

Miłosz ranks among the most respected 20th Century writers in Polish literature, as well as one of the most respected contemporary poets in the world. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, and was a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He died in Krakow, Poland, in 2004 at the age of 93. Republic of Poland has held the historic first Presidency of the Council of the European Union since July 1, 2011.In the leadership role, which ends Dec. 31, Poland has incorporated the heritage of Czeslaw Milosz into the future shape of the European Union. As noted by Consul General Joanna Kozińska - Frybes, the life and work of the author of Native Realm harmonizes perfectly with the challenges faced by the European nations, The solutions are framed by the Polish government as a "Europe of Bridges," inspired in part by Milosz' concept of "connective tissue" that springs from the openness of the new borderlands of culture, languages, and nations.


"Gift" by Czeslaw Milosz

A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

Launched in partnership with the Poetry Society of America in 1998, "Poetry in Motion/LA" places poetry posters onboard Metro buses for more than one million Metro Bus riders daily. The alternative space in the context of a transit system has become a welcome platform for the written word, delivered to delighted audiences by published poets in great performances.

Poems which are relatively short, upbeat and representative of the demographic diversity of the Los Angeles area are provided by the Poetry Society of America (PSA). Several of the poems are in Spanish. Among poets whose works are represented in the project are Milosz, e.e. cummings, Octavio Paz, and Langston Hughes as well as noted Southern California poets Chungmi Kim, Quincy Troupe, and Michelle Serros.

For more information about Metro Art and its free docent guided tours, visit or call Metro Art at 213-922-4ART.


Library Foundation of Los Angeles ALOUD reservations:

2011 Milosz Year:

Presidency of the Council of the European Union: