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Memorial for Wisława Szymborska in Kraków

Wisław Szymborska in Frankfurt in 1997 photographed by Elżbieta Lempp

Poland pays tribute to its beloved poet with a secular ceremony and an evening of remembrance

An honourary citizen of Kraków, Wisława Szymborska lived there for the latter part of her life and passed away there on the 1st of February. She will be buried in the family tomb, where her parents and sister lay at the Rakowic Cemetery. The service will be secular, according to the wishes expressed to the poet's secretary and executor of her will, Michał Rusinek. The President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk are expected to attend the service.

Later this year Poland's a5 publishing house will release the latest volume of poems by the poet. According to Rusinek, Szymborska completed about a dozen poems before her death, many of which have been published individually in some form of another in the literary press. Szymborska also expressed in her will the wish for a foundation to be established in her name, a foundation she had been planning over several years.

Rusinek recalled his last meeting with the poet, during which the two shared some gossip, drank coffee and smoked cigarettes. He considered this meeting his official goodbye with Szymborska. He had the following to say about his last impressions of the poet,

Wislawa Szymborska was a lady, and hid her various ailments, I do not want to talk about them. She worked on her poetry to the very last moment. She was setting them in order for the new collection and when she could, she would meet with friends. When she was home ill she requested that no one visit her, so that people could remember her in health. When someone would request a meeting or propose a photo shoot, she usually answered: I'll be there as soon as I'm younger.

After the memorial service, there will be a meeting in the Sukiennice Hall in the centre of the Old Town, followed by a literary get-together at the Museum of Contemporary Art in tribute to the poet, attended by Julia Hartwig, Ewa Lipska, Joanna Szczęsna, Anna Bikont, Urszula Koziol, Adam Zagajewski, Ryszard Krynicki, Leopold Neuger, Anders Bodegard, Adam Zagajewski, Ryszard Krynicki and Michael Rusinek. Guests will share their memories of the poet, listen to her own recordings of several poems and have the chance to view see photographs and videos. Tomasz Stańko and Marcin Wasilewski will also perform a concert.

A report on the event will be broadcast by the TVP Kultura television station on the 9th of February at 22:50.

Source: PAP

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