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Czesław Miłosz
Czesław Miłosz, 1999
Czesław Miłosz, 1999
Born (1911-06-30)30 June 1911
Šeteniai, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 14 August 2004(2004-08-14) (aged 93)
Kraków, Poland
Occupation
  • poet
  • prose writer
  • professor
  • translator
  • diplomat
Citizenship
Notable awards Neustadt International Prize for Literature (1978)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1980)
National Medal of Arts (1989)
Order of the White Eagle (1994)
Nike Award (1998)
Spouse
Janina Dłuska
(m. 1956; died 1986)
Carol Thigpen
(m. 1992; died 2002)
Children Anthony (born 1947)
John Peter (born 1951)

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Czesław Miłosz ( also 30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004) was a Polish-American poet, prose writer, translator, and diplomat. Regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century, he won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation, the Swedish Academy called Miłosz a writer who "voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts".

Miłosz survived the German occupation of Warsaw during World War II and became a cultural attaché for the Polish government during the postwar period. When communist authorities threatened his safety, he defected to France and ultimately chose exile in the United States, where he became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His poetry—particularly about his wartime experience—and his appraisal of Stalinism in a prose book, The Captive Mind, brought him renown as a leading émigré artist and intellectual.

Throughout his life and work, Miłosz tackled questions of morality, politics, history, and faith. As a translator, he introduced Western works to a Polish audience, and as a scholar and editor, he championed a greater awareness of Slavic literature in the West. Faith played a role in his work as he explored his Catholicism and personal experience.

Miłosz died in Kraków, Poland, in 2004. He is interred in Skałka, a church known in Poland as a place of honor for distinguished Poles.

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