Here

by Wislawa Szymborska, Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak
$14.95
1
A collection of poems from Nobel Prize-winner Szymborska.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547592091
  • ISBN-10: 0547592094
  • Pages: 96
  • Publication Date: 08/07/2012
  • Carton Quantity: 48

About the book

An exciting collection of poems by Wislawa Szymborska. When Here was published in Poland, reviewers marveled, “How is it that she keeps getting better?” These twenty-seven poems, as rendered by prize-winning translators Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak, are among her greatest ever. Whether writing about her teenage self, microscopic creatures, or the upsides to living on Earth, she remains a virtuoso of form, line, and thought.

From the title poem:

I can’t speak for elsewhere,
but here on Earth we’ve got a fair supply of everything.
Here we manufacture chairs and sorrows,
scissors, tenderness, transistors, violins, teacups, dams, and quips . . .

Like nowhere else, or almost nowhere,
you’re given your own torso here,
equipped with the accessories required
for adding your own children to the rest.
Not to mention arms, legs, and astonished head.




About the author
Wislawa Szymborska

WISLAWA SZYMBORSKA (1923–2012) was born in Poland and worked as a poetry editor, translator, and columnist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996.

Clare Cavanagh

CLARE CAVANAGH, professor of Slavic and comparative literature at Northwestern, has received a PEN Translation Award for her work, with Stanislaw Baranczak, on Szymborska's poetry. 

Stanislaw Baranczak

STANSILAW BARANCZAK, born in Poland in 1946, was a poet, literary critic, scholar, editor, translator and lecturer. He received numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Felllowship, and translated many seminal works—including the work of William Shakespeare, E.E. Cummings, and Emily Dickinson—from English into Polish.

Excerpts

Here

I can't speak for elsewhere,

but here on Earth we've got a fair supply of everything.

Here we manufacture chairs and sorrows,

scissors, tenderness, transistors, violins,

teacups, dams, and quips.

There may be more of everything elsewhere,

but for reasons left unspecified they lack paintings,

picture tubes, pierogies, handkerchiefs for tears.

Here we have countless places with vicinities.

You may take a liking to some,

give them pet names,

protect them from harm.

There may be comparable places elsewhere,

but no one thinks they're beautiful.

Like nowhere else, or almost nowhere,

you're given your own torso here,

equipped with the accessories required

for adding your own children to the rest.

Not to mention arms, legs, and astounded head.

Ignorance works overtime here,

something is always being counted, compared, measured,

from which roots and conclusions are then drawn.

I know, I know what you're thinking.

Nothing here can last,

since from and to time immemorial the elements hold sway.

But see, even the elements grow weary

and sometimes take extended breaks

before starting up again.

And I know what you're thinking next.

Wars, wars, wars.

But there are pauses in between them too.

Attention! — people are evil.

At ease — people are good.

At attention wastelands are created.

At ease houses are constructed in the sweat of brows,

and quickly inhabited.

Life on Earth is quite a bargain.

Dreams, for one, don't charge admission.

Illusions are costly only when lost.

The body has its own installment plan.

And as an extra, added feature,

you spin on the planets' carousel for free,

and with it you hitch a ride on the intergalactic blizzard,

with times so dizzying

that nothing here on Earth can even tremble.

Just take a closer look:

the table stands exactly where it stood,

the piece of paper still lies where it was spread,

through the open window comes a breath of air,

the walls reveal no terrifying cracks

through which nowhere might extinguish you.

 

Reviews

"No reader, not even poetry-phobes, should miss the bright revelations of Nobel laureate Szymborska. [...] Syzmborska is sharply ironic and lithely philosophical, pondering the phenomenal precision of dreams and the elusiveness of meaning. The neat, prancing lyrics collected in this slender, piercing book are delectable and profound." --Booklist