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On Its Way



Polish Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska is one of my favorite poets, perhaps my favorite living poet. She's certainly the one I'd most like to have tea with, if cover photos are anything to go by.

If you've never read Szymborska before, the 27 poems in this short volume are a wonderful introduction to her work, and if you've been following her poetry for years, Here is like a long awaited conversation with an old friend who's been living far, far away.

This collection showcases the roaming curiosity of Szymborska's poetic eye (she writes about everything from metaphysics and memory to assassins, accidents, and the art of poetry itself), her ability to create language which is simultaneously intricate and direct,  and the modesty, wisdom and humor which made me love her poetry in the first place. These are poems which open outward even as they zero in, poems of such simplicity and depth that they'll move you on the first reading and stay with you for years to come.

Margaret B.

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Author Wislawa Szymborska
Publisher Mariner Books
Publication Date 2012-08-07
Section Poetry / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Margaret B.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9780547592091

These twenty-seven poems consider life on earth, from the microbe to the apocalypse. Along the way they take in, among other objects of study, the human teenager, divorce, Ella Fitzgerald, Vermeer’s Milkmaid, dreams, traffic accidents, Greek statues, television miniseries, the vagaries of memory, Madame Atropos, and even poetry writing. A book to treasure, from a virtuoso of form, line, and thought.


“Accessible and deeply human . . . A poet to live with.” —Robert Hass

“She teaches us how the world defies and evades the names we give it.” —Edward Hirsch

“A subtle, even a subversive muse of vulnerability and a great European poet.” —Richard Howard

"Satisfying and original . . . Extremely smart, witty, and levelheaded, [Szymborska] seduces us with her wide range of interests, her atypical lack of narcissism for a poet, and her cheerful pessimism." —Charles Simic

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