Born in Lvov; fought in the underground resistance against the Nazis during the Second World War, when lad began to write poetry. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow from 1944 to 1945, and in 1947 received a Master's degree in economics from the Krakow Academy of Commerce. Studied Law at Torun university; awarded the degree of Master of Law in 1950. Studied philology at Torun. Lived briefly in Gdansk before moving to Warsaw, where he occupied a number of clerical posts. First visited Western Europe in the 1950s, spending time in France, England, Italy and Greece. Poet in Residence at the Free University in West Berlin from 1965 to 1969; taught at the City College of Los Angeles in 1970-71, after which he returned to Poland.
Much of the best poetry of the present century has originated in traumatic personal experience. But the poetry of modern Poland has inevitably stemmed from traumatic experience of a more collective kind. Poland, reunited in 1918 after over a hundred years of partition, survived only some twenty years before being invaded by the Nazis and, after sufferings second only to those of the Soviet Union during the Second World War, found its borders shifted several hundred miles westwards by a superior power at once its liberator and new oppressor. It is from this ' Poland' that three important poets have emerged and been accepted in the West as major voices: Czeslaw Milosz (an émigré since 1951, a distinguished prose writer, and the most recent recipient of the Nobel Prize), Tadeusz Rozewicz, and Zbigniew Herbert. Herbert,