Wislawa Szymborska (July 02, 1923 - February 01, 2012)
Born: 2nd July, 1923
Died: 1st February, 2012
Nationality: Polish
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: or near Poznan, Poland, Krakow
Notable works: "Wolanie do Yeti", "Dlatego zyjemy"

Wislawa Szymborska Facts

Biography

Wislawa Szymborska, (born July 2, 1923, Bnin [now part of Kornik], Poland--died February 1, 2012, Krakow), Polish poet whose intelligent and empathic explorations of philosophical, moral, and ethical issues won her the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.

Szymborska's father was the steward on a count's family estate. When she was eight, the family moved to Krakow, and she attended high school there. Between 1945 and 1948 she studied literature and sociology at Krakow's Jagiellonian University. Her first published poem, "Szukam slowa" ("I Seek the Word"), appeared in a Krakow newspaper in March 1945. Dlatego zyjemy (1952; "That's Why We Are Alive"), her first volume of poetry, was an attempt to conform to Socialist Realism, the officially approved literary style of Poland's communist regime. In 1953 she joined the editorial staff of Zycie Literackie ("Literary Life"), a weekly magazine of intellectual interests, and remained there until 1981. During this period she gained a reputation not only as a poet but also as a book reviewer and translator of French poetry. In the 1980s she wrote for the underground press under the pseudonym Stanczykowna and also wrote for a magazine in Paris.

Between 1952 and 1993 Szymborska published more than a dozen volumes of poetry. She later disowned the first two volumes, which contain poems in the style of Socialist Realism, as not indicative of her true poetic intentions. Her third volume, Wolanie do Yeti (1957; "Calling Out to Yeti"), marked a clear shift to a more personal style of poetry and expressed her dissatisfaction with communism (Stalinism in particular). Subsequent volumes, such as Sol (1962; "Salt"), Sto pociech (1967; "No End of Fun"), and Wszelki wypadek (1972; "Could Have"), contain poems noteworthy for their precise, concrete language and ironic detachment. Selections of her poems were translated into English and published in such collections as Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems (1981), People on a Bridge: Poems (1990), View with a Grain of Sand (1995), Monologue of a Dog (2005), and Here (2010).

Top 48 Wislawa Szymborska quotes

Somewhere out there the world must have an end.
End
Must
Out
Somewhere
World
Take it not amiss, O speech, that I borrow weighty words, and later try hard to make them seem light.
Borrow
Hard
Later
Light
Make
Seem
Speech
Take
Them
Try
Words
This terrifying world is not devoid of charms, of the mornings that make waking up worthwhile.
Charms
Devoid
Make
Mornings
Terrifying
Up
Waking
Waking up
World
Worthwhile
Though I may deny poets their monopoly on inspiration, I still place them in a select group of Fortune's darlings.
Deny
Fortune
Group
Inspiration
May
Monopoly
Place
Poets
Select
Still
Them
Though
You can find the entire cosmos lurking in its least remarkable objects.
Cosmos
Entire
Find
Least
Lurking
Objects
Remarkable
You
After every war someone has to tidy up.
After
Every
Someone
Tidy
Up
War
All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.
Doses
Easier
Imperfection
Served
Small
Tolerate
Up
All is mine but nothing owned, nothing owned for memory, and mine only while I look.
Look
Memory
Mine
Nothing
Only
Owned
While
All the best have something in common, a regard for reality, an agreement to its primacy over the imagination.
Agreement
Best
Common
Imagination
Over
Reality
Regard
Something
Any knowledge that doesn't lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life.
Any
Dies
Fails
Knowledge
Lead
Life
Maintain
New
Out
Questions
Quickly
Required
Sustaining
Temperature
Even the worst book can give us something to think about.
About
Book
Even
Give
Something
Think
Us
Worst
Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.
After
Always
Beginning
Book
Events
Every
Halfway
Only
Open
Sequel
Through
Get to know other worlds, if only for comparison. I am near, too near for him to dream of me.
Am
Comparison
Dream
Get
Him
I am
Know
Me
Near
Only
Other
Too
Worlds
I cannot speak for more than an hour exclusively about poetry. At that point, life itself takes over again.
About
Again
Cannot
Hour
Itself
Life
More
Over
Poetry
Point
Speak
Takes
Than
I have sympathy for young people, for their growing pains, but I balk when these growing pains are pushed into the foreground, when you make these young people the only vehicles of life's wisdom.
Growing
Life
Make
Only
Pains
People
Pushed
Sympathy
Vehicles
Wisdom
You
Young
Young people
I like being near the top of a mountain. One can't get lost here.
Being
Get
Here
Like
Lost
Mountain
Near
Top
I slide my arm from under the sleeper's head and it is numb, full of swarming pins, on the tip of each, waiting to be counted, the fallen angels sit.
Angels
Arm
Counted
Each
Fallen
Full
Head
Numb
Pins
Sit
Slide
Tip
Waiting
I started earning a living as a poet rather early on.
Early
Earning
Living
Poet
Rather
Started
I'm drowning in papers.
Drowning
Papers
In every tragedy, an element of comedy is preserved. Comedy is just tragedy reversed.
Comedy
Element
Every
Just
Preserved
Reversed
Tragedy
Is a decision made in advance really any kind of choice.
Advance
Any
Choice
Decision
Kind
Made
Really
It's just not easy to explain to someone else what you don't understand yourself.
Easy
Else
Explain
Just
Someone
Understand
You
Yourself
Keep up the good work, if only for a while, if only for the twinkling of a tiny galaxy.
Galaxy
Good
Good work
Keep
Only
Tiny
Up
While
Work
Let the people who never find true love keep saying that there's no such thing. Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.
Die
Easier
Faith
Find
Keep
Live
Love
Make
Never
People
Saying
Them
Thing
True
Life lasts but a few scratches of the claw in the sand.
Few
Lasts
Life
Sand
Nothing can ever happen twice. In consequence, the sorry fact is that we arrive here improvised and leave without the chance to practice.
Arrive
Chance
Consequence
Ever
Fact
Happen
Here
Improvised
Leave
Nothing
Practice
Sorry
Twice
Without
Poetic talent doesn't operate in a vacuum. There is a spirit of Polish poetry.
Operate
Poetic
Poetry
Polish
Spirit
Talent
Vacuum
Poets yearn, of course, to be published, read, and understood, but they do little, if anything, to set themselves above the common herd and the daily grind.
Above
Anything
Common
Course
Daily
Grind
Herd
Little
Poets
Published
Read
Set
Themselves
Understood
Generally speaking, life is so rich and full of variety; you have to remember all the time that there is a comical side to everything.
Everything
Full
Generally
Life
Remember
Rich
Side
Speaking
Time
Variety
You
I'm fighting against the bad poet who is prone to using too many words.
Against
Bad
Fighting
Many
Poet
Prone
Too
Using
Who
Words
There's simply too much fuss about myself.
About
Fuss
Much
Myself
Simply
Too
Too much
Everyone needs solitude, especially a person who is used to thinking about what she experiences. Solitude is very important in my work as a mode of inspiration, but isolation is not good in this respect. I am not writing poetry about isolation.
About
Am
Everyone
Experiences
Good
I am
Important
Inspiration
Isolation
Mode
Needs
Person
Poetry
Respect
When I was young I had a moment of believing in the Communist doctrine. I wanted to save the world through Communism. Quite soon I understood that it doesn't work, but I've never pretended it didn't happen to me.
Believing
Communism
Communist
Doctrine
Had
Happen
Me
Moment
Never
Pretended
Quite
Save
Save the world
Soon
At the very beginning of my creative life I loved humanity. I wanted to do something good for mankind. Soon I understood that it isn't possible to save mankind.
Beginning
Creative
Creative life
Good
Humanity
Life
Loved
Mankind
Possible
Save
Something
Something good
Soon
Understood
Someone sits at a table or lies on a sofa while staring motionless at a wall or ceiling. Once in a while this person writes down seven lines, only to cross out one of them 15 minutes later, and then another hour passes, during which nothing happens. Who could stand to watch this kind of thing?
Another
Ceiling
Could
Cross
Down
Happens
Hour
Kind
Later
Lies
Lines
Minutes
Nothing
Once
I cannot imagine any writer who would not fight for his peace and quiet.
Any
Cannot
Fight
His
Imagine
Peace
Peace and quiet
Quiet
Who
Would
Writer
I don't believe I have a mission. Sometimes I really have a spiritual need to say something more general about the world, and sometimes something personal.
About
Believe
General
Mission
More
Need
Personal
Really
Say
Something
Sometimes
Spiritual
World
Unfortunately, poetry is not born in noise, in crowds, or on a bus. There have to be four walls and the certainty that the telephone will not ring. That's what writing is all about.
About
Born
Bus
Certainty
Crowds
Four
Noise
Poetry
Ring
Telephone
Unfortunately
Walls
Will
Writing
I usually write for the individual reader -though I would like to have many such readers. There are some poets who write for people assembled in big rooms, so they can live through something collectively. I prefer my reader to take my poem and have a one-on-one relationship with it.
Big
Collectively
Individual
Like
Live
Many
One-on-one
People
Poem
Poets
Prefer
Reader
Readers
Relationship
You know, I'm worried about Szymborska. I wish she would stop smoking.
About
I wish
Know
She
Smoking
Stop
Wish
Worried
Would
You
'There's nothing new under the sun': that's what you wrote, Ecclesiastes. But you yourself were born new under the sun.
Born
New
Nothing
Nothing new
Sun
Were
Wrote
You
Yourself
In the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone's existence in this world.
Above
After
Anyone
Cloud
Day
Every
Existence
Language
Night
Normal
Nothing
Poetry
Single
Single day
You have to remember all the time that there is a comical side to everything.
Everything
Remember
Side
Time
You
Solitude is very important in my work as a mode of inspiration, but isolation is not good in this respect. I am not writing poetry about isolation.
About
Am
Good
I am
Important
Inspiration
Isolation
Mode
Poetry
Respect
Solitude
Very
Work
Writing
Sometimes I write quickly, sometimes I spend several weeks on a single poem. I would really love for readers not to be able to guess which of the poems took so much work!
Able
Guess
I write
Love
Much
Poem
Poems
Quickly
Readers
Really
Several
Single
Sometimes
Spend
I've reached the age of self-knowledge, so I don't know anything. People who claim that they know something are responsible for most of the fuss in the world.
Age
Anything
Claim
Fuss
Know
Most
People
Reached
Responsible
Self-knowledge
Something
Who
World
Sometimes I really have a spiritual need to say something more general about the world, and sometimes something personal.
About
General
More
Need
Personal
Really
Say
Something
Sometimes
Spiritual
World
Each of us has a very rich nature and can look at things objectively, from a distance, and at the same time can have something more personal to say about them. I am trying to look at the world, and at myself, from many different points of view. I think many poets have this duality.
About
Am
Different
Distance
Duality
Each
I am
I think
Look
Many
More
Myself
Nature
Objectively

Wislawa Szymborska essays

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