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Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz (Czesław Miłosz) is a Polish language poet and essayist. He was born on June 30, 1911 in Szetejnie, Lithuania and always underlined his connection to Grand Duchy de Lithuania. Czeslaw Milosz won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, when he was an American. He currently lives in Krakow, Poland.

In 1944 he refused to take part in the Warsaw Uprising.

A diplomat for communist Poland, he broke with the government in 1951 and sought political asylum in France. In 1953 he received the Prix Littéraire Européen, a European literature prize.

In 1961 he became a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley, where he now is a Professor Emeritus.

In addition to his poetry, his book The Captive Mind is considered one of the finest studies of the condition of intellectuals under totalitarianism.

In The Captive Mind he said that the intellectuals who became dissidents were not necessarily the ones with the strongest minds, but those with the weakest stomachs. The mind can rationalize anything, he said, but the stomach can only take so much.

He also said that as a poet he avoided touching his nation's wounds for fearing of making them holy.

He was granted the Yad Vashem title "Righteous Among The Nations".

His poems were put on the monuments of fallen shipyard workers in Gdansk. Several of his books have been translated into English by the American poet Robert Hass.