This article is an attempt to confront the autothematic refl ection in Leopold Staff’s (Ars poetica and The Artist’s Sadness) with two poems, inspired by a somewhat similar approach, by Tymoteusz Karpowicz and Krystyna Miłobędzka. What they seem to have in common are textual signs of welcome with ‘open arms’ and ‘the outstretched hand’. These emblematic gestures invite the reader/the Other to a diffi cult dialogue and at the same time indicate the nature of the authors’ poetic ambition. The analysis of the two pairs of poems is set in the context of the 20th-century evolution of the idea of poetic genius and the poet’s self-awareness. Crucial to this comparative study of the poetic practice of Leopold Staff, Tymoteusz Karpowicz and Krystyna Miłobędzka is an appraisal of the authenticity of their vision and the language they used to express their maximalist ambitions.