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Miracle Fair: Selected Poems

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  384 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Winner of the Heldt Prize for Translation. A new translation of the Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, with an introduction by Czeslaw Milosz. This long-awaited volume samples the full range of Wislawa Szymborska's major themes: the ironies of love, the wonders of nature's beauty, and the illusory character of art. Szymborska's voice emerges as that of a gentle subversive, s ...more
Paperback, 159 pages
Published November 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published May 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,027)
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Peycho Kanev
Jul 03, 2012 Peycho Kanev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Ms. Szymborska has that wonderful eastern European ability to show us that everything matters -- our words, our thoughts, our ancestors, our own mortality make us who we are, and who we are exists in an eternal Now. Reading Szymborska proves an entirely new way of looking at poetry. Szymborska is a very conscious and aware poet and she brings the outside political world inside and the inside personal world out. The microcosm and macrocosm of humanity is continually balanced and the poems will un ...more
Rosa Ramôa
Jan 03, 2015 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing
O Silêncio das Plantas

O relacionamento unilateral entre mim e vocês
não vai mal de todo.

Sei o que são folhinhas, pétalas, espigas, pinhas, caules
e o que se passa convosco em Abril e Dezembro.

E embora a minha curiosidade não seja correspondida,
inclino-me especialmente sobre umas
e ergo a cabeça para outras.

Para mim, vocês têm nomes:
ácer, bardana, anémona,
urze, zimbro, visgo, miosótis,
já eu, para vocês, nenhum.

Viajamos juntas.
E nas viagens conversa-se.
Trocam-se opiniões, nem que seja sobre o tempo
Jan 31, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
She's a great poet. I realize this is a translation, but her lines are so uncluttered, so profound. This from the poem, Torture:

Nothing has changed. Maybe just the manners, ceremonies, dances.
Yet the movement of the hands in protecting the head is the same.
The body writhes, jerks and tries to pull away,
its legs give out, it falls, the knees fly up,
it turns blue, swells, salivates and bleeds.

Nothing has changed. Except for the course of boundaries,
the line of forests, coasts, deserts and glacier
Sarah Rosenberger
Mar 06, 2012 Sarah Rosenberger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
If this truly is a lousy translation or not representative of her best work as some other reviewers claim, her other stuff must be effing phenomenal.

Mar 20, 2015 Hasan rated it really liked it
I have read two of Szymborska's Poetry books, one translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavagnah and this one by the great Polish Poet Czeslaw Milosz. Szymborska and Milosz have been both rewarded with a Nobel Prize for literature. I couldn't describe the uniqueness and individual style, nourished by her refusal to surrender to the collectivism, the communist propaganda and the social realism literature, better than the Academy that has praised "her poetry that with ironic precision allows the his ...more
Oct 24, 2014 Marie rated it it was amazing
My favourite thing this year. Borrowed from a friend and will get my own copy to go back to. She's like a really cool grandma that jolts you into reality when you are being an idiot. And much more.
Petya Kokudeva
Apr 16, 2013 Petya Kokudeva rated it it was amazing
От онези стихотворения, за които ми е най-добре да си мълча, защото, с всяка дума по техен адрес, имам усещането, че ги развалям:)

Ето едно от любимите ми:

The Three Oddest Words

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.

When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.

When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

(Или както казва Шимборска, "i prefer the absurdity of writing poems to the absurdity of not writing poems.")
My professor recommended I read this collection after I expressed an interest in Milosz’s work and a specific admiration of his style. Reading “Miracle Fair” was like an exploration of the self. I felt myself get lost in tiny cracks and crevices within and after reemerging there was a certain feeling of lightness and delight. I only wish that one day my own writing can be as honest and wispy as Szymborska’s.

In comparison to Milosz, I felt Szymborska had a lighter step to her writing, the words g
Tom Romig
Mar 12, 2015 Tom Romig rated it it was amazing
Another fine selection of poems by the marvelous Wislawa Szymborska. I've probably read all the currently available English language translations of her work. Unsurprisingly, various collections include versions of the same poem, making it possible and enlightening to compare translations. Here, for example, are the last several lines of the poem variously called "A Great Number," "A Large Number," or "Big Numbers":

From "Miracle Fair," translated by Joanna Trzeciak:

My dreams--even they are not a
Nov 17, 2008 Gregory rated it it was amazing
I am a rock, said the rock.
Christy Sibila
Aug 11, 2009 Christy Sibila rated it liked it
I was truly disappointed by this particular Szymborska collection of selected poems. The poems are poorly chosen, and are not representative of her best work. The translation appears to be mediocre, and poems that soar in the far superior collection, View With A Grain Of Sand, fall flat in Miracle Fair, due to the lack of flow for one poem to the next. None of this is the fault of the poet, whose genius flashes through in poems such as "Openness": "Here we are, naked lovers,/beautiful to each ot ...more
Vikki Marshall
Apr 26, 2012 Vikki Marshall rated it it was amazing
This collection of Szymborska’s poetry only touches upon how gifted a poet she was. Here we are able to delve into life and hope, fear and despair as only Szymborska can describe it. She is somehow able to convey both the horror of humanity and the rich complexity of love with an immense compassion that fills every page. Included in this collection is the poem “The End and the Beginning,” one of the greatest pieces ever written about the human condition after war. Szymborska has a unique way of ...more
Zoe Preteroti
Jan 22, 2016 Zoe Preteroti rated it it was amazing
This woman is my favorite poet of all time. I was lent this book by my poetry teacher and I fell in love. I read all of it in about a day. My favorite is Cat In An Empty Apartment. It wreaks me every time I read it.
Feb 05, 2015 Tasha rated it it was amazing
A master.
Jul 05, 2014 Mii rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read!
Nov 05, 2015 Brian rated it it was ok
Ah... the problem with translation in poetry... I tend to feel uncertain about the link to the original words (when I don't know/ don't have access to the original language).
Jun 27, 2010 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This was great -- the editing and arrangement of poems are an unusual twist; grouping the poems by loose themes as opposed to arranging them chronologically. As you can imagine, it works better at certain points than others. Translations are excellent and Szymborska's work is, as always, eminently readable, although I'll probably reread 'View with a Grain of Sand' before this collection.
Nov 08, 2010 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
My favorite Polish poet. Which is saying a lot! Perhaps Poland produces exemplary poets, or Polish translates particularly well into English, or maybe the fact that my great-grandparents came to Michigan from Poland makes Polish lines resonate with me in some special way. Whatever it is, "Wendy's favorite Polish poet" is a hard-won prize. This collection does not disappoint.
Feb 04, 2009 Scott rated it it was amazing
This is the work of a firecely intellectual, calm and attentive mind. Szymborska once said that poetry involved sitting in a quiet room, pen in hand, and staring at a wall for hours. Hard to believe that that was where these beautiful and affirming poems were borne. While not as comprehensive as her collected poems, this is a winsome offering, superbly translated.
Joseph Peterson
Jan 15, 2014 Joseph Peterson rated it it was amazing
Meticulously and lyrically translated. This is a nice selection of Szymborska's work.
Megan Stolz
Jun 07, 2013 Megan Stolz rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I first picked up Szymborska because I have Polish ancestry. But I enjoyed reading her poems very much. They range from the personal to the political, not too many of either, but a nice balance within this collection. An important voice which will be greatly missed.
Oct 27, 2011 A.M. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I read this in conjunction with "Slaughterhouse Five," which was interesting, because she has a chapter that reflects on the horrors of war - " . . . too much has happened that was not supposed to happen . . ." My favorite poem is "Conversation with a Rock."
Sarah Embaby
Wislwa szymborska is MY ULTIMATE FANATIC POET!
Every poem was a journey through captivating blessings to the greatness of the spirit, I Loved every metphor, word, letter and title. It made me Happy. it's like rising through ashes!

AHA!! Eureka! :)
Mar 30, 2012 Pat rated it it was amazing
I found some poems by Wislawa Szymborska on a web search for European poets for my poetry group and I was just enthralled by them. Someone else in the group had this book so I couldn't wait to get hold of it and read more of her amazing poems.
Feb 10, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Strength in vulnerability. Walking around with your eyes open, unafraid to peer into dark corners. Narrative in place of sharp edged opinion takes the form of Woman, or has been Woman all along. I love her.
Feb 15, 2009 Charmi rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Actually, I didn't make it to the end. Nothing really compelled me to finish it. Perhaps it was the translation, or perhaps I'll come back in a few years and enjoy it more. It seemed rather flat to me.
Aug 28, 2011 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it
I'm partial to the Szymborska translations of Claire Cavanaugh, but this translator brought a deeper dimension to some of my favorite pieces that I really like, including 'Cat in an Empty Apartment.'
Jiang Ni
Sep 21, 2008 Jiang Ni rated it it was amazing
Beautiful poems by the Nobel Prize Polish poet Szymborska. One of my absolute poems of all times is "Love at First Sight". Highly recommend!
Dec 05, 2012 Dionne rated it it was amazing

I love Szymborska but I must say I prefer the translations in View With a Grain of Sand over the ones found in this book.
John Wolfe
Aug 02, 2010 John Wolfe rated it really liked it
I'll be re-reading this ... some of the poems speak to me, some cause me to catch my breath, some zoom right past me.
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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—although she once remarked in a poem entitled "Some like poetry" [Niektórzy lubią poezję] that no more than two out of a thousand people ...more
More about Wisława Szymborska...

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