- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; New edition edition (Feb. 1 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156011468
- ISBN-13: 978-0156011464
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 259 g
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #213,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Poems New and Collected Paperback – Jan 12 2001
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All poets, according to Wislawa Szymborska, are in a perpetual dialogue with the phrase I don't know. "Each poem," she writes in her 1996 Nobel Lecture, "marks an effort to answer this statement, but as soon as the final period hits the page, the poet begins to hesitate, starts to realize that this particular answer was pure makeshift, absolutely inadequate." As a self-portrait, at least, this is fairly accurate. From the beginning, Szymborska has indeed wrestled with the demon of epistemology. Yet even in her earliest poems, such as "Atlantis," she delivered her speculations with a human--which is to say, a gently ironic--face:
They were or they weren't.
On an island or not.
An ocean or not an ocean
Swallowed them up or it didn't.
Fifteen years later, when her 1972 collection, Could Have, appeared, Szymborska seemed to have made some major inroads into her notorious ignorance. Now she confessed to at least a shred of comprehension, stressing, however, that such knowledge has come at a terrible price: "We read the letters of the dead like helpless gods, / but gods, nonetheless, since we know the dates that follow. / We know which debts will never be repaid. / Which widows will remarry with the corpse still warm." And even in her most recent work, the poet continues to gravitate toward the admirable emptiness of, say, the clouds: "Unburdened by memory of any kind, / they float easily over the facts." Ultimately, though, the joke is on Szymborska, whose poems have grown more witty, more humane, and more tender--in other words, more knowing--with each passing year. View with a Grain of Sand remains an excellent point of entry to Szymborska's oeuvre, but Poems New and Collected is the place to go for a wide-angle view of this superlative and sardonic writer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Reading the poems of Wislawa Szymborska is like gazing into Poland's famed amber.... Her verse exposes the universe's most mundane rubbish and mankind's banal indifference to all in its grip. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer, Merilyn Oniszczuk Jackson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Within the poem "Hatred" many passages personify and show how persistent hatred is and how it is always present. The poem illustrates the diligence that hatred has. Then, the peom takes this dark view of hatred and turns it into something positive. Symborska is able to illustrate how the bursting of bombs makes beauty with "splendid glow-fire in midnight skies." I like how in the end of misery and evil can emerge something beautiful. These poems allowed me to see light at the end of the tunnel. Overall, a good book, and worth reading.
Szymborska is a poet who does not hide behind her writings. She expresses herself and thoughts and is not afraid to do so. This certain poem of hate could be a bit risky to write, but it actually tells the truth. Hate is everywhere, even on the sports fields, with the fans and athletes themselves.
This book, Poems New and Collected, has many great themes such as love, war, perspective and existence. Everyone may not agree with her writings, but I am sure some sort of connection will be made. I know I felt a connection to her while reading her poems.
Ms. Szymborska has that wonderful eastern European ability to show us that everything matters -- our words, our thoughts, our ancestors, our own mortality make us who we are, and who we are exists in an eternal Now. "Life, however long, is always short," she writes, "too short for anything to be added."
Perhaps the most moving of these works is "In Broad Daylight," a fantastic portrait of the poet Krzysztof Baczynski, killed at age 23 during the Warsaw Uprising, as an old man, vacationing in the mountains, sipping soup, readng the paper. Ms. Szymborska shows us how these simple acts, what she calls elsewhere "commonplace miracles," are precious. We who live have an obligation to see the miracle in our very exisitence, to savor and to succor life.
Szymborska deserves to be widely read. This volume is highly recommended.
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I loved the translation and wished it covered more of work.