The essays in The Mature Laurel trace the course of Polish poetry from Norwid to the New Wave, virtually the whole of this century. They feature individual writers, most notably Herbert, Roiewicz, Milosz and Szymborska, but also more general issues: writing under Stalinism, the distortion of translation, relationships with visual art. The book also includes a section of shorter essays in which British critics discuss individual poems by Herbert, Norwid, Milosz and Rozewicz.
Adam Czerniawski is a leading poet in Polish and translator of Polish poetry. Born in Warsaw he left Poland during the war, settling eventually in England, where he studied English Literature and Philosophy at London, Sussex and Oxford. His Selected Poems 1953-1978 appeared in Poland in 1982. The translator of volumes by Norwid, Rozewicz, Staff, Stoinski and Szymborska, he is also the author of The Burning Forest (Bloodaxe, 1988), translations of seventeen Polish poets.