After nine years, Wisława Szymborska - laureate of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996 - has broken her silence and published a new volume of poems. The twenty-three poems in the volume Chwila / Moment, which is another miniature philosophical treatise, encourage readers to meditate and reflect upon those issues that are most important, most essential. They are at once a return to the themes that have been present in Szymborska's writing throughout her career: perception of the world as a fascinating play of coincidences, the search for identity, the inability to explain the reality that surrounds us through rational means, acceptance of destiny. However, the tone of Moment is shaped by pessimistic, one might even say catastrophic poems like Fotografia z 11 września / Photograph from September 11th, Przyczynek do statystyki / A Statistical Brief, Jacyś ludzie / Some People or Others, Bagaż powrotny / Baggage for the Return. These poems best describe the place of the 20th century in the history of civilization and call up the dilemmas of transcendence and death. Death is omnipresent for Szymborska, at once frightening and wholly familiar - like a return voyage, like a dream, like a shadow. The poet looks at the world "from the other side," constantly circling around it; she searches out other forms of life and seeks to understand how they perceive humans.

In an interview with Joanna Szczęsna published in the daily "Gazeta Wyborcza," Wisława Szymborska had the following to say about Moment:

"Some of the poems were born from a complex of experiences. Others grew out of a single impression, like 'Photograph from September 11th.' There was this photo in a magazine. I saw those human figures frozen in flight. Some poems take a long time to complete; at times I will go back to them, sometimes changing them. I would like readers to perceive all of my poems as their own, as written to them. Because a poem belongs to you who read it, and it is to you that I dedicate what I write."

The book has been nominated for the NIKE 2003 literary award.

  • Wisława Szymborska
    Chwila / Moment
    Wydawnictwo ZNAK, Kraków 2002
    128 x 198, 46 pages, hardcover
    ISBN 82-240-0227-8

 

 

Bilingual Polish-English edition of Szymborska's poems translated by a renowned team Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak.

 

 

  • Wisława Szymborska
    Chwila / Moment
    translated by:
    Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak
    Wydawnictwo ZNAK, Kraków 2003
    128 x 198, 92 pages, hardcover
    ISBN 83-240-0354-1