Wisława Szymborska, a Polish poet, Nobel Prize winner


Wisława Szymborska







Wisława Szymborska found inspirations for her reflections in everyday, in usual situations, in social or political occurrences. Such phenomen appear in 'W biały dzień' poem. Situation in it shows us resort's guest consumption. We find out how the character looks like, what kind of memories he mention, which nervous or automatical impulses he has. What mights amaze us is that the author uses subjuctive mode which tells us to notice that under cover there is some kind of disturbing enigma. Its explanation apperas at the end of a poem, when someone shouts 'Mr Baczyński, there is a call for you!' At this time a line reveal another meaning. It turnes out to be a reflection about death in very young age and the legend that we create after that. Gustily interrupted life paradoxically saves poet from everyday routine and builds a myth abot him for next generations. This verse may be perceive as a historical and philosophical reflection.


In a poem called 'Prospect' we find another interesting exertions. As a title suggest we may expect some kind of advertisement. The author tells us that being submissive to it is the worst thing we can possibly do. It deprive our awareness and sense of reality.


In another line 'The great man's house' Szymborska give us a reflection about living in the XXI century and the role of an entity nowadays. She tells us about its loneliness and isolation among the people. In the same time she admits that the human from XXI century

was extremly experienced and he gained the awareness of triviality of materiality(??) And that is why the poet watch a safe man of passing belle epoque, with a little bit of irony.

In Szymborska's poetry you can find many philosophical motives. They refer to the human cognitive limitations. Szymborska wants to tell us that a human involuntarily perceives the world anthropocentrically. His authorities and range of concepts sentence him to futility of cognition, e.g. stone being. In the „Conversation with the stone” the stone arranges its interior (furnishes it) but doesn't let human to go inside. Not only that – the stone doesn't even have a door. It is inscrutable being. And also a human can be such a mysterious entity.

Klaudia and Maria



  The poet is fascinated by countless wealth of the world, its diversity and uniqueness. This is the main theme of „Birthday”. The poem tells about a world that we can not fully taste, experience. The world is given to us, but it is beyond us. The line character (the lyrical subject) of the poem asks:


So much world all at once – how it rustles and bustles!/ Moraines and morays and morasses and mussels,/ How to line them all up, how to put them together?/(...) Isn’t sunset a little too much for two eyes/ That, who knows, may not open to see the sun rise?/ I am just passing through, it’s a five-minute stop./ I won’t catch what is distant: what’s too close, I’ll mix up.” (translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)

Szymborska extends a reflection about the transience of human life and the wealth of the world. The gap between vanity and desire to experience the world.

Paulina and Androniki

The Second distinguising feature of Szymborska's style is using official, scientific or colloquial language. There are a lot of idioms. A poem „Funeral” resembles a conversation. It is consisted of people's guotes who take part in a funeral. It makes you feel you can't identify with another person. You notice that people are indifferent to the other's problems. It emphasizes you can't verify your life even when a death is coming. An official style is in „I image world” poem. It is connected with colloquial style. Mixing different styles is in „A choice in support of pornography” poem. There are colloguialisms and scientific words. A poem called „A love at firt sight” is full of idioms which are usually use in ordinary conversations. She write about people who are in love this way. Different styles of language can come near philosophical problems.


Magda and Theodora


Man existence in modern world is one of the most important problems brought up in Szymborska’s poems, where she tries to answer to metaphysical questions such as: Why here? Why now? Why in this body?

We can see her fascination with different posibilities of existence in poem „Zdumienie” („Astonishment”), where Szymborska tries to solve metaphysical issues with questions:


Why only once in my very own person?
Precisely on earth? Under this little star?
After so many eras of not being here?

In spite of seas of all these dates and fates,
these cells, celestials and coelenterates?


Szymborska is interested in problem of people acting in theatrum mundi. In poem „Wrażenia z teatru” („Impressions from the Theatre”) she seems to talk about man attachment to his life and difficulty of coming to terms with perspective of leaving this world. At the same time she hopes that future life is complement of earthly existance.

She also tries to find a way to set free from man limitations and deterministic nature laws in literary work and creating utopian worlds, what we can see – for example - in poem „Radość pisania” („The Joy of Writing”).


Anna and Eleni

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