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View With a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  3,858 ratings  ·  252 reviews
In these one-hundred poems Wisława Szymborska portrays a world of astonishing diversity and richness, in which nature is wise and prodigal and fate unpredictable, if not mischevious. With acute irony tempered by a generous curiousity, she documents life's improbability as well as its transient beauty.
Paperback, 214 pages
Published May 26th 1995 by Mariner Books (first published 1995)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Lisa
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, nobels
Nobel poetry! This got under my skin!

I think I owe it partly to this collection that I started loving modern poetry and sharing this love with the next generation.

I remember a class when we read Szymborska's "Some Like Poetry". We took it apart, and wrote our own poems following the same idea and pattern. One student looked at me and said:

"But this doesn't have anything to do with Humanities!"

I remember being worried about this. Why could poetry not express the questions taught in Humanities? So
...more
PGR Nair
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
WISLAWA SZYMBORSKA: MOZART OF POETRY

Bestowing Nobel Prize for literature on relatively unknown poets has some merits. I must confess that I was totally unaware of the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska poet till she won the Nobel Prize in 1996. Szymborska received the Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality,” according to Nobel prize citation. Having read almost all her collections
...more
Cheryl
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cheryl by: PGR Nair
Shelves: poetry, nobels
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each
second.


When I'm half asleep, I'm awakened by poetry, this form which gives me life, gives me meaning, in only a few words. When I want to see lucidity, to feel the fabric of a thought, poetry aids me. And when I really think about it, poetry is the art form that first gave me words--simple lyricism-- when, as a kid, I thumbed through hymnals I was supposed to carefully stack for my mother's singing group.
Forgive me, distant wars, for
...more
Darwin8u
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, aere-perennius
"Don't bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light."

-- Wisława Szymborska, View With a Grain of Sand

description

Such a great overview of Szymorska's poetry. Once in Hungary I watched a guy ride two horses at full gallop while standing on their backs. Reading Szymorska reminds me of that. I grasp the technicals of what she is doing. I understand that nothing she writes in either style or practice actually defies the ACTUAL physics of writing, but
...more
Weinz
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Weinz by: Bernie
In this episode RC (Random Co-worker) will be played by Stifler (which is how men sound in my head when I know they are complete morons). Stifler will be replacing blond bimbette #3(which is how I categorize idiot girls I come in contact with) from last week's episode where she tried to explain why she loved "Daisy of Love".

RC: You don't have a TV?!

M: No

RC: I can't believe you don't have a TV!

M: *heavy sigh*

RC: Where do you watch your shows?

M: I don't

RC: Where do you watch movies?!

M: I have
...more
Aubrey
Much of what we lose in translation is the art of mystification. Some works circumvent with footnotes, end notes, even an odd completely separate 'guide' and more commonly hashed around Wiki pages for purposes of filling in the much voiding blank, but there's still the matter of whether you're a native speaker of the translated from, the translated to, or neither. Reading my one-trick-pony English translated from Polish, I can't latch on to a rhyme, a particular beat of metaphor, a singular ...more
Viv JM
I chose this collection for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge task: "Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love". It contains poetry from various collections of Szymborska, spanning the years of 1957 and 1993. I was amazed that this poetry was translated, as it reads as if it were first written in English. It was interesting to see how the poet developed over the years, and how her themes became more serious - a lot of the later poems are related to death or war. ...more
Danielle DeTiberus
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the poem I would like to be read at my funeral. I read it for the first time on a plane to NY. I was so moved that I turned (with tears in my eyes, mind you) to the man sitting next to me and asked him to read it. HA! He must have thought I was an absolute nut. But he read it and he liked it...so thanks Wislawa!


Birthday

So much world all at once – how it rustles and bustles!
Moraines and morays and morasses and mussels,
The flame, the flamingo, the flounder, the feather –
How to line them
...more
Jonfaith
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetshere
Since they'd never met before, they're sure
that there'd been nothing between them.
But what's the word from the streets, staircases, hallways--
perhaps they've passed by each other a million times?


My recent bouts with verse have been belabored, not in terms of complexity or allusion but because, so often, the stanzas were heavy. The weight of history and personal affectation gave each phrase a heft. Imagine how disoriented I was when encountering Szymborska. This collection nearly bursts with a
...more
Rosa Ramôa
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nuvens

Para descrever as nuvens
muito teria de apressar-me,
pois numa fracção de segundo
deixam de ser estas e começam a ser outras.

É sua propriedade
não se repetir
nas formas, tonalidades, poses e configurações.

Sem o peso de qualquer lembrança,
pairam sem dificuldade sobre os factos.

Mas nem testemunhá-los podem,
pois logo se dissipam em todas as direcções.

Comparada com as nuvens,
a vida afigura-se firme,
quase duradoura, eterna.

Perante as nuvens
até uma pedra parece nossa irmã,
na qual se confia,
mas elas,
...more
Lia
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I'm not sure you can ever truly review poetry, but perhaps this notion comes from my lack of experience.

I dipped in and out, reading one poem after another; sometimes in order, but mostly I flew past those poems that left me unmoved, loitering over the poems that left me breathless with captivated awe.

I found I wasn't touched by the more oblique poems, preferring the historical, and narrative poems such as Clochard, Conversation with a Stone, Soliloquy For Cassandra, Our Ancestors' Short
...more
Glire
2016 Reading Challenge #06: A book translated to english. [Leído en español]

"En el tercer planeta del sol
la conciencia limpia y tranquila
es síntoma primordial de animalidad."


QUE GENIA. Desde Walt Whitman no me encontraba a un poeta tan evidentemente inspirado por lo cotidiano. No por el amor, la felicidad, el dolor, la tristeza, la pasión o la muerte, sino por el conjunto de sus más pequeños y simples encantos: la perfección de una cebolla, la muerte de un escarabajo, el magnífico irrespeto
...more
Yani
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finjan que las cinco estrellas son diez. Reseña pronto.
Rick
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Simply one of the world’s finest living poets. This collection came out right about when she won the Nobel Prize for literature and includes 100 poems that span her career from 1957 to 1993. My own preference is for her more recent work, a fine testimony for an artist’s continual improvement. The selections from her earliest work are interesting but those from 1976 on are more consistently compelling and memorable. She can write magic lines; some randomly nabbed examples: “There’s nothing more ...more
Courtney Johnston
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have fallen head over heels for Wislawa Szymborska (and am even now able to spell her name without looking). 'View with a grain of sand' , translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh, brings together a handful of poems from each of a number of collections published between 1957 and 1993. The poems are remarkably consistent in tone and approach - Syzmbroska seems to have landed her mixture of playness and elegant skewering early, and maintained it. Her poems are both wide-ranging and ...more
Elizabeth Adams
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes the world goes a little more silent, and so it was yesterday when I heard of the death of Wislawa Szymborska. In her 88 years she had only published 400 poems, saying that she wrote many more, but always re-read the previous day's work the next morning: "Many," she added dryly, "don't survive." So this was a poet who was not prolific, nor had she had fallen in love with the sound of her own voice. Instead, each poem said something that mattered, and therefore the silence today is ...more
sigurd
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ci sono autori o autrici che quando piombano nella tua vita in questa c'è il caos. non hai tirato fuori i panni dalla lavatrice e sei costretto a rilavarli, non hai scongelato il pane in tempo e il microonde è da riparare, le uova sono scadute, hai dimenticato il prosciutto fuori dal frigo, le bollette sono scadute da un paio di mesi e non ricordi da quanto tempo ci sono quegli avvisi di giacenze, il bagnoschiuma è in cucina al posto del detersivo piatti e quest'ultimo nella doccia, i calzini ...more
Huy
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, poetry
Tình cờ mua được cuốn này ở nhà sách Phương Nam, chỉ còn 1 quyển duy nhất và lập tức yêu thơ của Wislawa Szymborsk bởi sự giản dị nhưng đầy sức mạnh trong câu từ của bà, bà luôn nhấn mạnh sự vận hành của đời sống có lẽ không phải ngẫu nhiên như ta tưởng tượng hoặc có những dấu hiệu về sự đổi thay.
Một tập thơ xứng đáng để ta giở ra đọc lại nhiều lần
Xio
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Tortures


Nothing has changed.
The body is susceptible to pain,
it must eat and breathe air and sleep,
it has thin skin and blood right underneath,
an adequate stock of teeth and nails,
its bones are breakable, its joints are stretchable.
In tortures all this is taken into account.

Nothing has changed.
The body shudders as it shuddered
before the founding of Rome and after,
in the twentieth century before and after Christ.
Tortures are as they were, it's just the earth that's grown smaller,
and whatever
...more
Blixen
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Blixen by: Zich
Shelves: poetry, women
Torture
Nulla è cambiato.
Il corpo prova dolore,
deve mangiare e respirare e dormire,
ha la pelle sottile, e subito sotto – sangue,
ha una buona scorta di denti e di unghie,
le ossa fragili, le giunture stirabili.
Nelle torture di tutto ciò si tiene conto.

Nulla è cambiato.
Il corpo trema, come tremava prima e dopo la fondazione di Roma,
nel ventesimo secolo prima e dopo Cristo,
le torture c’erano e ci sono, solo la Terra è più piccola
e qualunque cosa accada, è come dietro la porta.

Nulla è cambiato.
C’è
...more
J.M. Hushour
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I feel that poetry may be considered "wack" by anyone born after 1970, but, seriously, assholes, there is some good shit out there, e.g. this book. I know, I know, I know: where are the undead? where are the plastic explosions? where are the ersatz realities? Shove it all up your butt, Mugwumps! In an interview someone asked her why she didn't publish very frequently and the card replied, "I have a trash can in my home."
Daniel Sevitt
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
As difficult as I find it to read and appreciate books of poetry, I would have thought that a work in translation would be even more alienating. This selection of Nobel Prize winner Szymborska's work from 1957-93 is rendered beautifully into English. The poems wrestle with life and love and death and they do so with wit and grace. A charming collection.
Carolyn
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
'Bruegel's Two Monkeys' eulogizes the collection. It is haunting. Most other poems belong in the remnants bin: too succinct, parched accounts of qualia. Each piece becomes an ode to its subject; Szymborska's bland narratives would best befit the essay genre.
Jeff Cavadrio
Leer a Szymborska para mí fue como un encuentro con un mundo desconocido que siempre ha estado ahí. La poesía de Wislawa retrata la profundidad del ser humano ante una realidad ignota. Nos revela el mundo desde una perspectiva sensitiva y crítica. Paisaje con grano de arena es un viaje por un siglo nostálgico que se busca así mismo en el pasado. Szymborska utiliza muchas veces la ironía y eso hace de algunos versos un ameno paseo por la vida.
El único problema con este libro es la traducción, no
...more
Haydon
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
What amazes me about Szymborska's poetry is the profound levity she finds in the ordinary. The poems read humorously, but their meaning leaves you unnerved. I enjoyed them thoroughly.
Rebecca
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017: Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. Translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.

Because this challenge specified translation, let me first say that my mind was BLOWN with the rhyme, rhythm, and wordplay that was present here. Knowing that it's been translated made some of these poems seem nearly impossible, yet here they are. Example:

BIRTHDAY

So much world all at once – how it rustles and bustles!
...more
Margaret
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Part of my most recent poetry binge, I finally got around to reading a Nobel Prize winner who had been on my radar for a while, but I could never find her work in poetry sections of bookstores when I was looking.

It's amazing. I can't tell if the poetry is so good because of or in spite of the translation, but one way or another the poems broadly range in topic but all have an incredible and brilliant spirit.

I'll have to find more of her poetry soon.
Michael
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 1990s
I enjoyed reading this collection more than the other collection listed here. This collection is smaller, but the poem order seems better to me.

She's a very unique poet. You should check her out.
Steven Godin
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I remember Wislawa Szymborska was for me a difficult poet to get into at first, and after reading this, my third book, she is now very much a rewarding one, and easily one of my favourite female poets. Her themes here vary, with some poems feeling light and almost humorous, whilst others were dark, deeper, and more challenging. Some of these poems I have come across before, but that didn't matter to me, as it was a pleasure to get to read them again.
Anyone who has a true love for poetry, simply
...more
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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 ...more
“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.”
91 likes
“They're both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they'd never met before, they're sure
that there'd been nothing between them.
But what's the word from the streets, staircases, hallways--
perhaps they've passed by each other a million times?

I want to ask them
if they don't remember--
a moment face to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a "sorry" muttered in a crowd?
a curt "wrong number" caught in the receiver?
but I know the answer.
No, they don't remember.

They'd be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.

Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn't read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood's thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another beforehand.
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.”
78 likes
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