Poems New and Collected
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Poems New and Collected

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  1,519 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Described by Robert Hass as "unquestionably one of the great living European poets" and by Charles Simic as "one of the finest poets living today," Szymborska mesmerizes her readers with poetry that captivates their minds and captures their hearts. This is the book that her many fans have been anxiously awaiting-the definitive, complete collection of poetry by the Nobel Pr...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published November 16th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Dec 22, 2011 s.penkevich rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers old and new
Wisława Szymborska, the recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in literature, has the power to make the reader feel both insignificant and heroic simply for existing. This collection, which spans her career from 1957-97, offers a broad range of Szymborska’s talents. Her eloquent prose is direct and extremely quotable, overflowing with clever witticisms just begging you to go crazy with a highlighter through the pages, and is very accessible, making this a perfect collection for both veteran poetry f...more
Peycho Kanev
"Whatever inspiration is, it's born from a continuous "I don't know."...That is why I value that little phrase "I don't know so highly. It's small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include spaces within us as well as the outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended...Poets, if they're genuine, must always keep repeating "I don't know"(Szymborska, The Poet and the World).

This excerpt from Syzmborska's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech describes the mission in her poetry...more
Szymborska is entertainingly whimsical without ever being twee. Many of the poems arrive at anti-sentimental reminders of mortality, in fact. But there's a lot to enjoy and think about on the way there. One of my favorites now. Also, not that I can understand the original Polish, but the translators seem to have done an excellent job.
Peter Crofts
I think I may have a problem with the recently deceased Szymborska. Her poetry glitters, I have even watched her on Youtube speaking in Polish simply because her eyes also glitter with intelligience and humour. I knew they had to after stumbling across this volume in a used bookstore, opening it, and other than eating and sleeping, not putting it down until I had finished. Then I started all over again. Though a great number of these poems were written over half a century ago and in the drab opp...more
I don't know what to make of her. She's extremely clever, with an eye for little observations about the spaces between that might otherwise slide by. To be honest, though, I often find her cleverness to be cold, with an ironic distance that is off-putting. Even the language that she uses--her wordplay--is brilliant, but skewed somehow, Dr. Seuss-ish in a way, silly or banal or just too demotic. I often get the feeling that each poem had a sudden insight that would work better as a haiku and feel...more
These works were translated marvelously. She manages to be ironic and witty, while remaining poignant and keeping human emotion in perspective. The word choice throughout is so achingly appropriate, as well. I love her work and highly recommend it.
EDIT: Szymborska died on February 1, 2012, the day before I finished reading this book. I wrote most of the following review before I learned of her passing. May she rest in peace.


When I was a bit younger, I spent a lot of time socializing with mathematicians. It turns out that mathematicians are a rather homogeneous group. If you ask a mathematician what type of music he likes best, he'll almost certainly reply "Classical music." If you ask him who his favorite musician is, you can bet you...more
I'm really picky with poets. Reading this.... the lyricism I usually go for in poets seems to be absent. Some of the poems are really gorgeous - 'Over Wine', 'I Am Too Close', 'Report From the Hospital', 'Letters of the Dead', 'A Large Number', 'Sky', 'Parting With A View'.... The end of 'The Suicide's Room' - 'and he had so many friends, but all of us fit neatly / inside the empty envelope propped up against a cup' really got to me.

I also like that she writes so many very quotable things, the...more
Ryan Horricks
Nov 01, 2007 Ryan Horricks rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poetry readers
By far and away my favorite poet right now. I discovered her in a collection by Billy Collins Poetry 180 and have devoured everything by her since...her poetry is fluid, literate, sarcastic and very human..I used to enjoy poems that were word puzzles, like wallace stevens, and william carlos williams, but my tastes now are different. Not to say that I like easy poems, just poems that don't make me have to fight to say that I like them..though I feel there is a place for the type of poetry that r...more
Somehow I had never really read Szymborska. I'm not sure how that is possible, but there you have it - there are always more writers to be read and "discovered," not discovered by the world in general, because Wislawa Szymborska is a Nobel Laureate, after all, so the world knows about her, but rather there are always more books and writers to be discovered by each one of us.

This collection spans her career, and while some of the books collected move me more than others, this collection gets fiv...more
آیا این خیلی خودخواهی، خیلی خودشیفتگی است که با خواندن هر کدام از شعرهای ویسواوا شیمبورسکا (با ترجمه ی ایونا نوویسکا و علیرضا دولتشاهی) با خودم می گویم: عه؟ ترجمه ی من قشنگ تر بود که؟
نمی دانم خودخواهی است یا خودشیفتگی ولی من دوست دارم این جوری فکر کنم حتی اگر درست نباشد - نباشد هم، در جهان من، که ذهن من است، درست است، نیست؟
به هر حال ویسواوا شیمبورسکا معجزه ای است که هیچ وقت تمام نمی شود
نه حتی با ترجمه های کج و کوله
Felix Purat
It's too bad I had to return this book to the library: only halfway through, and I am only now starting to understand the way the mighty Polish poetess Wisława Szymborska actually works, at least in English language form. At first, her poems seemed to me rather plain and did not speak to me in the way poets like Yeats and Eliot have. I suspected the translation process to be part of the problem; having had considerable experience with the Polish language, I'm aware that Polish is one of those la...more

I'll be you think the room was empty.
Wrong. There were three chairs with sturdy backs.
A lamp, good for fighting the dark.
A desk, and on the desk a wallet, some newspapers.
A carefree Buddha and a worried Christ.
Seven lucky elephants, a notebook in a drawer.
You think our addresses weren't in it?

No books, no pictures, no records, you guess?
Wrong. A comforting trumpet poised in black hands.
Saskia and her cordial little flower.
Joy the spark of gods.
Odysseus stretched on the shelf in...more
"Nothing can ever happen twice. In consequence, the sorry fact is that we arrive here improvised and leave without the chance to practice. "
I have been intrigued with Szymborska ever since a few poetry friends here on Goodreads started sharing some of her powerful verse with me.
Syzmborska has, in my view, surpassed Heaney, who I think is great, as the best poet now working. This collection followed her winning of the Nobel Prize and is a great anthology of her work, proving not only early excellence but continued improvement. She is wry, precise, unforgivingly observant, compassionate in her understanding, funny when you don’t expect it, and, well, wise. Even in translation her poems surprise with a naturalness that bears no hint of contrivance or strain. They are poem...more
"Only what is human can truly be foreign."


::Conversation With A Stone::

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I want to enter your insides,
have a look round,
breathe my fill of you."

"Go away," says the stone.
"I'm shut tight.
Even if you break me to pieces,
we'll all still be closed.
You can grind us to sand,
we still won't let you in."

I knock at the stone's front door.
"It's only me, let me come in.
I've come out of pure curiosity.
Only life can quench it.
I mean to stroll thr...more
If you want to get into poetry but don't know where to start, this will be the perfect beginning. Written in whimsical, unpretentious, clean and sometimes even childish language, the collection of poems offer a very unique take on life and world. Biggest question though is not sure why the Washington Post called these poems "dark"...
Jun 19, 2008 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I ask you, is there a more perfect poem than "Brueghel's Two Monkeys"?

This is what I see in my dreams about final exams:
two monkeys, chained to the floor, sit on the windowsill,
the sky behind them flutters,
the sea is taking its bath.
The exam is History of Mankind.
I stammer and hedge.
One monkey stares and listens with mocking disdain,
the other seems to be dreaming away —
but when it's clear I don't know what to say
he prompts me with a gentle
clinking of his chain.

And her "An Opinion on the Question...more
Wislawa Szymborska is one of my very favorite poets. Her work is often both abstract and specific, and she combines remarkably evocative imagery with a variety of emotions, ranging from frustration to detached interest to dry humor. She is one of the few things I got out of a college lit class that was worth remembering.
Britni Houser
This book became my favorite poetry book pretty quickly. Often times translated poetry loses something, however these were wonderfully done.
Aug 05, 2008 Kirsty is currently reading it
Recommended to Kirsty by: Ralph
I was at a friend's house, sitting hungover on the sofa while they played wii very loudly, and my friend handed me this book and told me to read a certain poem. Something inside instantly clicked. I didn't put the book down all night and asked to borrow it the next day. I've still got it. I vaguely remember him telling me I could keep it at my birthday; I hope I didn't imagine that. As something of an artist, I like things that inspire me and make me want to draw and sketch. This book did that f...more
Nov 26, 2007 Nyna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I found this book on my bookshelf recently. I'd bought it years ago on a recommendation and never gotten into it, but when I picked it up again a month or so ago I guess it was finally the right time for me and this poet, or these poems.

She's got an interesting way of seeing the world, and a way with language that comes through even in translation. These poems appear simple on the surface, but the more you read them the more you start to understand that they're saying a lot more than you think...more
Joan Colby
This collection portrays Szymborska’s evolution from the mocking voice of her youth to the more sober considerations of maturity. It’s always hard to judge the value of poetry in translation, and the translators have made an attempt to continue her rhyme schemes which makes it even more problematic with the earlier poems. In her later work, Szymborska utilizes more free verse which lends a profundity to her colloquial voice, that in other circumstances veers unhappily into light verse. Szymborsk...more
Karen Jean Matsko Hood
Another classic for poetry enthusiasts to read. #PoetKarenJeanMatskohood loves poetry
I first read the Szymborska poem "The Terrorist, He's Watching" perhaps ten years ago. I was struck by its unnerving simplicity: how it belied the real terror at first by taking a first-person point of view and then generating immense discomfort as I realized I was put into the role of terrorist, calmly analyzing who would die as the seconds counted down to a bomb blast. I have been disappointed by very few of this Polish poet's fine works. This collection serves up forty years of her poetry. Ch...more
This book is a great read!
Bruce Macdonald
Polish, but readable.
I love Szymborska and I thought of putting this book on here because I'm reading some Elizabeth Bishop right now and it has a little of the same feel to it. Anyways, this is a very good collection of her poems. The translations are quite good. I mean, I don't speak Polish, so I don't know how faithful they are, but these poems read a little better that other translations that I've seen. Her Nobel lecture at the front of the book is as good as any of the poems too.
Lorenzo Berardi
I don't read so much poetry yet, but Szymborska has the precious gift of writing about everyday things and thoughts in an appealing way.

Her poetry has the power and the strength of simplicity without insisting on metric structures.
Reading what Szymborska wrote and writes I have the impression she is a very down to Earth and sensitive person, while most of her colleagues believe to be Words Gods, separated by the rest of the world.
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  • New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
  • Without End: New and Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1956-1998
  • The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems
  • What Work Is: Poems
  • Above the River: The Complete Poems
  • Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan
  • The Selected Poetry
  • Book of My Nights
  • Collected Poems in English
  • Collected Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems, 1957-1987
  • Collected Poems
Wisława Szymborska (Polish pronunciation: [vʲisˈwava ʂɨmˈbɔrska], born July 2, 1923 in Kórnik, Poland) is a Polish poet, essayist and translator. She was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. In Poland, her books reach sales rivaling prominent prose authors[citation needed]—although she once remarked in a poem entitled "Some like poetry" [Niektórzy lubią poezję] that no more than two out of...more
More about Wisława Szymborska...
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“When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.”
“Four billion people on this earth
but my imagination is still the same.
It's bad with large numbers.
It's still taken by particularity.
It flits in the dark like a flashlight,
illuminating only random faces
while all the rest go by,
never coming to mind and never really missed.”
More quotes…