Wisława Szymborska

A Polish poet, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for literature. She has only written a small number of poems (250 is one estimate), but she has always been very popular within Poland. Though she had received a number of European prizes before that, her work was not popularly known outside her country until the Nobel brought her to general attention. Her collections include:

  • Dlagtego Zyjemy 1952
  • Wolanie do Yeti (Appeal to the Yeti) 1957
  • Sol (Salt) 1962
  • Sto pociech (A Hundred Joys) 1967
  • Wszelki wypadek (Any Case) 1972
  • Wielka liczba (High Numbers) 1976
  • Ludzie na moscie (People on a Bridge) 1986
  • Poczatek i koniec (The Beginning and the End) 1993
  • Widok z ziarnkiem piasku (View with a Grain of Sand) 1996
  • Lektury nadobowiazkowe (Optional Reads) 1992
  • Sto wierszy - sto pociech (A Hundred Poems - A Hundred Solaces) 1997

Szymborska was born in Bnin, near Poznań, in 1923, and moved to Torun in 1926 and Cracow in 1931, where she has remained. From 1945 she studied Polish literature and sociology at the Jagiellonian University. She has repudiated her earliest works (in the early 1950s) because they were influenced by party censorship. She began working for the literary weekly Zycie Literackie in 1953, and became an editor of Pizmo in 1981.

It is believed that the works of Wislawa Szymborska are inspiration for some films by Polish Filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowksi. Notably the poem "Love at first sight", which may have served as the inspiration for the storyline of Kieslowski's final film: "Trois couleurs: Rouge"; (Three colours: Red) (1994).

And her poem Seance, may have influenced Kieslowski on the subjects of Fate and chance meetings.

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