Milosz documentary featured in literary film series



In the 1960s, long before winning the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, the Lithuanian Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz taught Cal and lived on Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. He meditated on the lost world of his bucolic childhood and the horrors of 20th century Europe from his misty perch above the Golden Gate.

Survivor of the Russian Revolution and the two world wars, Milosz is isolated from the American literary scene and literary life in Poland, where his books have been banned since his defection to the West in 1951.

At one point he felt so lonely that he sent his new poems to himself in the mail, “as if to get a response from the world,” the poet explains. Robert Hass in the splendid documentary “The era of Czeslaw Milosz. “

Friend, fellow teacher at Berkeley and main English translator of Milosz, Hass will present this vast film by the Lithuanian director Juozas Javaitis at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on June 1.Author, Author»Series that the archives present with the Bay Area Book Festival.

Other films in the series, curated by Movie Maven Tom luddy, include the premiere of “Nelson Algren live», Presented by its director, Oscar Bucher, scriptwriter Barry gifford and the venerable director of San Francisco Philippe kaufman (Algren appeared as himself in Kaufman’s 1964 Chicago film “Goldstein“); Carroll Ballard‘s classic 1979 “The black stallion”, Digitally restored, with the director on site to talk about it; and a recently restored version of John huston‘s gritty 1962 “Big city, to be discussed by Leonard Gardner, who wrote the screenplay based on his novel, and film historian David thomson.

Join Hass to talk about Milosz, who died at the age of 93 in Krakow, Poland, will be the son of the poet, Antoine Milosz, and his friend Mark Danner of the Cal faculty. Danner now owns the Milosz House on Grizzly Peak, still sought after by young literati and visit of the Poles, his garden still alive with deer and other wild animals which delighted the erudite and funny poet.

“I miss him and revisit him all the time – his work, his mind, his way of thinking about things,” says Hass, former American poet winner of the 2007 National Book Award. “His view of the world was profoundly un-American. “

Milosz, who wrote that from an early age he “was grieved because of the cruelty of the world” and “learned to endure misfortune”, made many voices heard to invoke and make sense of what he was doing. ‘was living in those explosive times – or as Hass puts it: “contain as many people as possible”.

“He kept inventing ways to try to express as much reality as he could,” adds Hass, whose final project with Milosz was the 1998 book.Roadside dog», A series of prose pieces, embellished with aphorisms and anecdotes, meditating on the life of the poet.

Remembering details of the people and places he knew was crucial for Milosz, who wrote about the murderous ruins of Warsaw in his 1945 collection. “Help. “By remembering and saving,” says Hass, “Milosz felt engaged in” a kind of fight against nothingness, against oblivion. “

Hass still laughs at the time he stopped at an antique store on his way back from the Russian River and came across a story of women’s underwear in Polish. He gave it to Milosz, who was delighted to learn the name of the particular undergarment an aunt wore as she and other women undressed to swim in the river circa 1916.

Hass doesn’t think he’s ever seen him happier.

For more information, visit

Leishman Fund

Local fans and friends of Gina Leishman, the famous composer and multi-instrumentalist who has performed often in the Bay Area with her Kamikaze Ground Team and other groups, participate in a GoFundMe online campaign to help cover Leishman’s expenses while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

“She has the same health insurance as most single and independent artists – none – and can use your help,” the San Francisco pianist and music director said. Joshua Raoul Brody.

Almost half of the goal of $ 25,000 has already been raised.

For more information, visit


How do I get to Carnegie Hall? Go to Vancouver.

This is where two pianist sisters from Santa Rosa, 8 years old Rachel and 5 years Leighton Ko, competed in the West Coast event of the Little Mozarts competition. They both scored first in their age group and will perform with other winners at Carnegie’s Weill Hall on Sunday, May 15. The girls had never heard of Carnegie, but are thrilled to see New York City.

Jesse Hamlin is a Bay Area reporter and former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

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