Colon - Wisława Szymborska

Dwukropek / Colon, a new book of poetry by Wisława Szymborska, is Szymborska's second collection of poems to come out after she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996 (the other one, Chwila, was published three years ago). All in all, just over 300 poems by Szymborska have appeared in print. Of the twenty poems in the present collection, most have previously been published in the press. Despite the ever more pronounced theme of passing and death, the literary critic Tadeusz Nyczek does not find Dwukropek / Colon pessimistic.

What does a colon imply? It catches the absent-minded thought, announcing that the key message is about to appear. It gives a sense of stability and security by promising a scrupulous listing of crucial words and things, thoughts and meanings.

This is not the case with Wisława Szymborska's Dwukropek / Colon. Here all that matters appears before the colon, such as that the world does not really care if you are there or not, if you are who you are or are someone else, if it is pure chance or the intolerably accurate determinism that rules everything. The world is totally indifferent to presence or absence, and does not care much about individuality and uniqueness of beings. This uniqueness can only be saved by poetry. Dwukropek / Colon talks about things temporal, accidental, fleeting, relative and says that ambiguity is what matters most, explicitness being an irrevocable death of poetry. The life and element of poetry is a multitude of meanings, a number of ways of talking about oneself and the world and the never-ending posing of question marks. The colon appears at the very end. It is a place for the answer of the world. It is silence which is its only answer.

The front cover features fragments of a drawing by Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

  • Wisława Szymborska
    Dwukropek / Colon
    Wydawnictwo a5, Kraków 2005
    150 x 210, 48 pages, hardcover
    ISBN 83-85568-76-X


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