Wislawa Szymborska Quotes

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Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska

Wisława Szymborska, Kraków, Poland 2011
Born (1923-07-02)2 July 1923
Prowent, Poland (now Kórnik, Poland)
Died 1 February 2012(2012-02-01) (aged 88)
Kraków, Poland
Occupation

Poet
essayist
translator

Nationality Polish
Notable awards

Goethe Prize (1991)
Herder Prize (1995)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1996)
Order of the White Eagle (2011)

Spouse Adam Włodek (1948–1954; divorced)

Let the people who never find true love keep saying that there’s no such thing. Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.
Wislawa Szymborska
Sometimes I really have a spiritual need to say something more general about the world, and sometimes something personal.
Wislawa Szymborska
Though I may deny poets their monopoly on inspiration, I still place them in a select group of Fortune’s darlings.
Wislawa Szymborska
After every war someone has to tidy up.
Is a decision made in advance really any kind of choice.
I don’t believe I have a mission. Sometimes I really have a spiritual need to say something more general about the world, and sometimes something personal.
Wislawa Szymborska
You have to remember all the time that there is a comical side to everything.
Wislawa Szymborska
Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.
Wislawa Szymborska
Keep up the good work, if only for a while, if only for the twinkling of a tiny galaxy.
Wislawa Szymborska
In the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.
Wislawa Szymborska
I'm drowning in papers.
Nothing can ever happen twice. In consequence, the sorry fact is that we arrive here improvised and leave without the chance to practice.
Wislawa Szymborska
This terrifying world is not devoid of charms, of the mornings that make waking up worthwhile.
Wislawa Szymborska
There's simply too much fuss about myself.
Everyone needs solitude, especially a person who is used to thinking about what she experiences. Solitude is very important in my work as a mode of inspiration, but isolation is not good in this respect. I am not writing poetry about isolation.
Wislawa Szymborska
When I was young I had a moment of believing in the Communist doctrine. I wanted to save the world through Communism. Quite soon I understood that it doesn’t work, but I’ve never pretended it didn’t happen to me.
Wislawa Szymborska
Poets yearn, of course, to be published, read, and understood, but they do little, if anything, to set themselves above the common herd and the daily grind.
Wislawa Szymborska
I usually write for the individual reader -though I would like to have many such readers. There are some poets who write for people assembled in big rooms, so they can live through something collectively. I prefer my reader to take my poem and have a one-on-one relationship with it.
Wislawa Szymborska
It’s just not easy to explain to someone else what you don’t understand yourself.
Wislawa Szymborska
Poetic talent doesn’t operate in a vacuum. There is a spirit of Polish poetry.
Wislawa Szymborska
All the best have something in common, a regard for reality, an agreement to its primacy over the imagination.
Wislawa Szymborska
I slide my arm from under the sleeper’s head and it is numb, full of swarming pins, on the tip of each, waiting to be counted, the fallen angels sit.
Wislawa Szymborska
Any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life.
Wislawa Szymborska
I like being near the top of a mountain. One can't get lost here.
At the very beginning of my creative life I loved humanity. I wanted to do something good for mankind. Soon I understood that it isn’t possible to save mankind.
Wislawa Szymborska
Get to know other worlds, if only for comparison. I am near, too near for him to dream of me.
Wislawa Szymborska
Generally speaking, life is so rich and full of variety; you have to remember all the time that there is a comical side to everything.
Wislawa Szymborska
Each of us has a very rich nature and can look at things objectively, from a distance, and at the same time can have something more personal to say about them. I am trying to look at the world, and at myself, from many different points of view. I think many poets have this duality.
Wislawa Szymborska
I have sympathy for young people, for their growing pains, but I balk when these growing pains are pushed into the foreground, when you make these young people the only vehicles of life’s wisdom.
Wislawa Szymborska
I’m fighting against the bad poet who is prone to using too many words.
Wislawa Szymborska
Somewhere out there the world must have an end.
‘There’s nothing new under the sun’: that’s what you wrote, Ecclesiastes. But you yourself were born new under the sun.
Wislawa Szymborska
In every tragedy, an element of comedy is preserved. Comedy is just tragedy reversed.
Wislawa Szymborska
Unfortunately, poetry is not born in noise, in crowds, or on a bus. There have to be four walls and the certainty that the telephone will not ring. That’s what writing is all about.
Wislawa Szymborska
Sometimes I write quickly, sometimes I spend several weeks on a single poem. I would really love for readers not to be able to guess which of the poems took so much work!
Wislawa Szymborska
All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.
Even the worst book can give us something to think about.
You know, I'm worried about Szymborska. I wish she would stop smoking.
I started earning a living as a poet rather early on.
You can find the entire cosmos lurking in its least remarkable objects.
Take it not amiss, O speech, that I borrow weighty words, and later try hard to make them seem light.
Wislawa Szymborska
Keep up the good work, if only for a while, if only for the twinkling of a tiny galaxy.
Wislawa Szymborska
I’ve reached the age of self-knowledge, so I don’t know anything. People who claim that they know something are responsible for most of the fuss in the world.
Wislawa Szymborska
All is mine but nothing owned, nothing owned for memory, and mine only while I look.
Wislawa Szymborska
I cannot speak for more than an hour exclusively about poetry. At that point, life itself takes over again.
Wislawa Szymborska
Someone sits at a table or lies on a sofa while staring motionless at a wall or ceiling. Once in a while this person writes down seven lines, only to cross out one of them 15 minutes later, and then another hour passes, during which nothing happens. Who could stand to watch this kind of thing?
Wislawa Szymborska
Life lasts but a few scratches of the claw in the sand.
Solitude is very important in my work as a mode of inspiration, but isolation is not good in this respect. I am not writing poetry about isolation.
Wislawa Szymborska
I cannot imagine any writer who would not fight for his peace and quiet.