I just watched the Polish movie, Milosz (2014), (*See below how to view the film), a wonderful documentary on his life and writing from his earliest life to his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980 till his death in 2004.
My mind was replaying its own documentary of the six hours I spent with Milosz in the late 1970s, before the Nobel, and the music swelled for the moments when I got the two of us lost in the Flats, driving around, trying to find the Polish restaurant Cleveland State English professor Dave Evett had reserved for dinner.
Oh lord, how did I get here, I wondered for the thousandth time of my life in Cleveland, where I had a tendency to get into more wonderful trouble than I have anywhere before or since.
How I got Milosz in my car was how I got so many poets into my old Ford Granada-- I was hanging out in the Cleveland State English Department and Alberta Turner, head of the CSU Poetry Center was looking for someone with a car. There was often deep silence as she'd ask around: people would flee, be off to class, to pick up kids, and then she'd look at me, the recent grad student turned adjunct. I never felt up to the job, but I loved Alberta and I loved poetry. I couldn't say know though my stomach would knot up.
I especially loved Milosz's poetry. His poem, "Ars Poetica" has been on my desk ever since those days, with its lines all poets should keep in mind: