Wisława Szymborska, Kraków, 1980, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum
Wisława Szymborska would have celebrated her 90th birthday today. Recent projects strive to preserve the spirit of the beloved poet.
On the 30th of June, a memorial statue of the poet was unveiled in Kórnik, Poland. Szymborska was born in Kórnik, and now the world's first statue of the late Nobel laureate brings her back. Designed by Piotr Mastalerz and Dawid Szafrański, it features Szymborska dressed for a stroll through the park. The poet enjoyed her walks through Kraków, the city she made her home, and appears here as though she has just stopped at a park bench. Perched on that bench is a statue of a cat resting on a pile of papers. The charm of the statue lies in its invitation for passersby to pause for a moment and relax with Szymborska and her cat.
Szymborska's Bench, unveiling, photo: Wisława Szymborska Foundation
The lasting image of Szymborska and her cat - likely born from her widely read poem Cat in an Empty Apartment - is also on display on Google.pl today. To honor the poet’s birthday, the Google Doodle of the day shows a cat looking out the window of a dark, empty apartment. The shelves of the apartment have been cleared and bags are packed.
Along with these timely celebrations of the beloved Polish poet, admirers of her work have honored her memory with projects over the past year. The National Museum in Kraków has prepared an exhibition entitled Szymborska’s Drawer, which collects and displays items from the poet’s apartment. Describing the project, the museum director, Zofia Gołubiew, says it is “neither a reconstruction of her flat, nor a memorial chamber, but rather an interior arranged in the somewhat surreal spirit so dear to the poet’s heart.” This “surreal spirit” is evoked with objects precious to Szymborska – including a chest she designed to keep photographs and other keepsakes.
Also on display are collections of odd items obtained from friends – a pig with a music box in its tail, a lighter in the shape of a submarine, and a miniature chest of drawers that was a gift from Czesław Miłosz. Alongside these relics are texts and recordings of Szymborska’s poems. The quirky yet intimate collection is a testament to the poet’s deeply ironic sense of humor, as well as her sensitivity and contemplative sensibility.
Also working to preserve Szymborska’s spirit is the Some People Like Poetry project, sponsored by the Wisława Szymborska Foundation. Taking its name from Szymborska’s poem Some People Like Poetry, the project hosts evenings where guests are invited to read their favourite poems. These readings, from the writings of Szymborska and others, are recorded and can be enjoyed online. Much as Szymborska’s Drawer celebrates the poet’s love of oddities and home, Some People Like Poetry honors the poet by promoting her love of language.
More on Szymborska’s Drawer avaliable here.
Readings from Some People Like Poetry can be viewed on the website of the Wisława Szymborska Foundation.
Source: culture.pl, Wisława Szymborska Foundation
Editor: Alena Aniskiewicz 02.07.2013