He was one of the greatest writers of our time, unmatched as a chronicler of the crimes and hopes of the twentieth century, almost unique in his effortless mastery of both poetry and drama. He was born in 1921 in Radomsko, Poland. He fought in the underground Home Army during the Nazi occupation and began publishing with the clandestine press. After the war he studied history at Krakow and his first book of poetry, Niepokoj (Anxiety), appeared in 1947. He set himself the task of re-inventing literature in the face of a brutality that seemed to have devalued everything, including words themselves, for an audience of survivors.
In the early 60s Rózewicz also established himself as one of the most innovative post-war dramatists. Kartoteka (The Card Index, 1960) has been called Eastern Europe's Waiting for Godot. It was filmed by Krzysztof Kieslowski in 1979. Other plays include Do piachu (Dead and Buried, 1979), which provoked national controversies both during and after the Communist era, and Pulapka, (The Trap, 1984), a haunting study of Kafka. He has written theatrical and literary theory essays, and his work has been translated into 40 languages and performed all over the world.
Alongside recycling, his most recent works included the play Kartoteka.rozrzucona. (The Card Index Scattered, 1995), and the prose memoir Matka odchodzi (Mother's Going Away, 1999) which received the prestigious Nike 2000 prize. His New Poems was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. He lived in Wroclaw.