On the 20th of October Adam Zagajewski returns to Spain, this time to Oviedo to receive the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature 2017. The Polish poet revealed that he has always felt a strong sense of connection with Spain due to his deep admiration for Antonio Machado, whose influence can be seen in his work.
Zagajewski’s visit follows his previous stay during Habitación 2016 (Room 2016), a project that unites tourism and culture. Zagajewski resided for several days at Hotel Son Jaumell as the first guest for the premiere event. His love for Majorca, with its many sources of inspiration, and his gift for writing serve to remind us of the “old gentleman with a young 72-year-old soul” as he defines himself.
Zagajewski is one of those poets who feels as he writes and is able to turn everyday life into poetry because poetry can be taught, although not entirely: “there is something deeper in poetry, an impulse which one either has or has not. That impulse cannot be taught. It is a gift”, affirms the poet. Zagajewski’s gift is accompanied by his passion for music and his need for silence: “I need silence and moments of inactivity. I believe that creativity comes not from being too busy, but from doing nothing”.
Bach, Chopin, Mahler and Bruckner are his favourites. Music is a way of saying goodbye to life and goodbye to time. It helps Zagajewski accept this ubiquitous temporality because all things change. His early works are more critical and combative, but then he becomes more contemplative. We are in the presence of an author with a memory and “with an ethical sense of literature” as he declared to the panel members of the Princess of Asturias Award.
The Habitación 2016 cultural project had the great honour of welcoming Zagajewski as its first guest. The goal of the initiative, promoted by Hotel Son Jaumell in Capdepera, is the cultural patronage of the island’s hotel sector. However, the relationship between Zagajewski and Majorca dates back to 2005, when he first discovered the island and the painter Miquel Barceló. “That was the beginning of a great affinity with Majorca”, he reveals. Majorca and the waters of the Mediterranean are a source of inspiration to the essayist and poet: “Somehow I am a child of the sea, it is second nature to me. Swimming in the Mediterranean is one of my greatest pastimes” disclosed the poet.
I love to swim in the sea, which keeps /
talking to itself /
in the monotone of a vagabond /
who no longer recalls /
exactly how long he has been on the road. /
Swimming is like a prayer: /
palms join and part /
join and part, /
almost without end
Adam Zagajewski, one of the most relevant poets of our day, reveals his love for Majorca. He will receive the Princess of Asturias Award for Literature 2017 on the 20th of October at 6:30pm at the Campoamor Theatre of Oviedo.