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Here

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,738 ratings  ·  221 reviews
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 work. Whether writing about her teenage self, microscopic creatures, or the upsides to livin ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  1,738 ratings  ·  221 reviews


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Samadrita
Keeping aside all the Tagore verses devoured and regurgitated in near by-rote-memorized answers in high school (no disrespect meant towards Tagore but required reading), bits of Eliot and Yeats and Neruda sampled in the last few years, Wislawa Szymborska is the first and the only Nobel winning poet that I have picked up of my own free volition so far, with no vague threats looming over my head of being chastised as a philistine. I can like or dislike her as I wish to, no English Lit students or ...more
Seemita
She wants me to live only for her and with her. Ideally in a dark, locked room, but my plans still feature today’s sun, clouds in progress, ongoing roads.
With this singular clarity, Wislawa Szymborska views memory. By running a casual yet assertive hand, she makes the memory cursive; memory that is stitched into seamless minute knots connecting the present, illuminating the present.

Here is a solace, a silent hurrah. Written in small, fresh bud-like paragraphs, this collection of
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Tutaj = Here, Wisława Szymborska
An exciting collection of poems by Wislawa Szymborska.
From the title poem: 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 . . .

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
...more
Théodore
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.
Sarah
Jan 31, 2020 added it
Shelves: poetry
“A Hard Life With Memory

I’m a poor audience for my memory.
She wants me to attend her voice nonstop,
but I fidget, fuss,
listen and don’t,
step out, come back, then leave again.

She wants all my time and attention.
She’s got no problem when I sleep.
The day’s a different matter, which upsets her.

She thrusts old letters, snapshots at me eagerly,
stirs up events both important and un-,
turns my eyes to overlooked views,
peoples them with my dead.

In her stories I’m always younger.
Which is nice, but why alway
...more
rahul
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gbbw, poetry
Here , here,
In this moment when
Thoughts that visit me on a busy street
run amok into An Idea that is I.

Of how Hard Life with memory is
and how much harder it would be without it.
A Teenager crossing the street, it is me...
my realities will be Assassins for all his dreams.

A Microcosmos living inside these lines,
restless Foraminifera of words and meaning
Before a journey, already seeking Divorce
with their poet.

Vermeer Dreams of Ella in Heaven,
and his women a Portrait from Memory.
Identification they d
...more
Steven
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first reading of Szymborska's poetry, recipient of the Nobel prize, she writes not how I would have expected, but still, so full of life. The 27 poems on offer were not fancy in any way, but retained a vibrancy that was down to earth and easily likeable. Ingeniously written, that it almost seems like she's whispering them to you as a close friend or relative sitting next to you, with tea and biscuits. It still strike me how she manage to express so much, with such width and mindfulne ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
EXAMPLE

"A gale
stripped all the leaves from the trees last night
except for one leaf
left
to sway solo on a naked branch.

With this example
Violence demonstrates
that yes of course—
it likes its little joke from time to time."

NONREADING

"Bookstores don't provide
a remote control for Proust,
you can't switch
to a soccer match,
or a quiz show, win a Cadillac.

We live longer
but less precisely
and in shorter sentences.

We travel faster, farther, more often,
but bring back slides instead of memori
...more
Sleepless Dreamer
The last week or so has been kind of terrible due to various reasons. It has forced me to ask questions that I didn't want to ask and consider things that I just didn't want to ever consider. Somehow, although nothing has technically changed, it feels like this week was life changing. I feel like I've grown. I can feel the direction of my life shifting during this week, my priorities are no longer the same and I'm not sure if they'll ever return to what they were or if I'm happy with where they ...more
Lauren
"And I know what else you’re thinking.
Wars, wars, wars.
But even between them there happen to be breaks.
Attention—people are evil.
At ease—people are good.
At attention we produce wastelands.
At ease by the sweat of our brows we build houses
and quickly live in them."

From 'Here', the title poem of the collection HERE by Wisława Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak.

My second Szymborska poetry collection, and it solidifies her place as one of my must-read poe
...more
Carmen
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.
...more
Antonomasia
Reading these alongside some Tsvetaeva only emphasised that the poems in Here are relatively comfortable and happy. The work of a secure and wise old age, having endured and seen the back of an oppressive government, and achieved no less than a Nobel Prize. The rapturously smiling old lady on the front cover is a lovely representation of the author of these lines:

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,
...more
David
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
For the longest time I could not appreciate poetry without form. In fact it is probably only in the last year that I have really grown to love and appreciate the style of 'free verse' which seemed to me, before, the realm of lazy poets. However, since then, some free verse poetry have become favorites of mine, Neruda's "Ode to Common Things" and "If You Forget Me" are poems I return to over and over, for their imagery and use of language in a way that, while not conforming to a structure per-se, ...more
Yuri
Jul 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A friend lent me her copy of this poetry collection, and as grateful as I am to her for acquainting me with the great Wisława Szymborska, I regret ever returning it to her. Sigh!!!! I'll be missing this little book dearly.

It's hard to pick a favorite, but two in particular refuse to leave me, as they speak to my own relationship with creativity and memory.

An Idea

An idea came to me
for a rhyme? a poem?
Well, fine — I say — stay awhile, we’ll talk.
Tell me a little more about yourself.
So it whispere
...more
Jane
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Teenager

Me—a teenager?
If she suddenly stood, here, now, before me,
would I need to treat her as near and dear,
although she's strange to me, and distant?

Shed a tear, kiss her brow
for the simple reason
that we share a birthdate?

So many dissimilarities between us
that only the bones are likely still the same,
the cranial vault, the eye sockets.

Since her eyes seem a little larger,
her eyelashes are longer, she's taller,
and the whole body is tightly sheathed
in smooth, unblemished skin.

Relativ
...more
Joshie
Here, the words spill their syllables and letters, arrange, as life continues to transform and evolve itself through entwined beauty and grime of experiences and emotions.

** 'Life on Earth is quite a bargain.
Dreams, for one, don't change admission.
Illusions are costly only when lost.
The body has its own installment plan.'
— from HERE

** 'Billions of faces on the earth's surface.
My face, yours, whose —
you'll never know.
Maybe Nature has to shortchange us,
and to keep up, meet demand,
she fishes up wha
...more
Paul Manytravels
I generally love Szymborska's poems and looked forward to enjoying this volume. Overall, for me, it was a disappointment and not up to the level of other works by this Nobel Prize winner.
I was impressed with this collection's next to last entry, "Labyrinth" and with various less impressive entries along the way. As a whole, however, I just could not relate to many of the entries.
"Labyrinth" however, did catch me and inspire multiple readings. The poem is perhaps a bit summed up in its lines, "Y
...more
Viji (Bookish endeavors)
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Billions of faces on the earth's surface.
My face, yours, whose—
you'll never know.
Maybe Nature has to shortchange us,
and to keep up, meet demand,
she fishes up what's been sunk
in the mirror of oblivion.”
...more
Jenna
Dec 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
@Eliana this review is for you! I need to spend more time with Szymborska to say how this compares to her other collections, but I thought the second half was particularly strong. I liked every poem and loved some. Worth the price of the collection for the Vermeer poem alone.
Rebe
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
I feel a little guilty giving this book only 2 stars. There was nothing really bad about it; I enjoyed reading it; seeing the original Polish (even though I can't understand a word of Polish) fascinated me; Wislawa Szymborska is one of my favorite Polish poets; and I'm even biased in favor of the book because of its lovely cover. But I give it 2 stars because nothing in the book really moved me. She had some interesting twists of phrase and wrote about a range of topics, avoiding cliches, but no ...more
Edita
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I’m a poor audience for my memory.
[…]
She wants all my time and attention.
She’s got no problem when I sleep.
The day’s a different matter, which upsets her.

She thrusts old letters, snapshots at me eagerly,
stirs up events both important and un-,
turns my eyes to overlooked views,
peoples them with my dead.
[…]
She wants me to live only for her and with her.
Ideally in a dark, locked room,
but my plans still feature today’s sun,
clouds in progress, ongoing roads.

At times I get fed up with her.
I suggest a s
...more
Ken
Translated from the Polish, this book stands at 85 pp. with both the original and the Cavanaugh and Baranczak translation. She's unique in that she gives depth to the otherwise ordinary. If you're looking for lots of poetic devices, imagery, figurative language, etc., take a pass. These are more conversational. What works is the metacognition, almost as if WS is looking down at herself (in one poem she converses with her teenaged self) and life from a position of cloudlike heights. ...more
Ana
This bilingual collection is superb, I only wish I understood Polish so I can compare the original and the translation better.
Zuberino
Ah, poetry in translation. Or milk that is more water than milk, only the faintest trace of taste, of mouthfeel left, if the poet is at all lucky in the partner. More often than not, all is lost - wordplay, punnage, the density and weight of native words, their fatal emotional charge.

So I am not in a position to judge the original Polish poetry. (The day she won the Nobel I was trialling for the Worlds!) What I will say is that she has her pulse on the finger of modern life (or is it the other
...more
Courtney Johnston
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, borrowed
I first read this poem about six months ago

Identification

It’s good you came—she says.
You heard a plane crashed on Thursday?
Well, so they came to see me
about it.
The story is he was on the passenger list.
So what, he might have changed his mind.
They gave me some pills so I wouldn’t fall apart.
Then they showed me I don’t know who.
All black, burned except one hand.
A scrap of shirt, a watch, a wedding ring.
I got furious, that can’t be him.
He wouldn’t do that to me, look like that.
The stores are bursti
...more
Kriti Samidi
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a writer! It's been a while since I was so mesmerized by a poet.
Favourite Poems-
Thoughts that visit me on busy streets
Teenager
Hard Life With Memory
Example

Oh, I can name all the poems in your particular collection. She had conversations with herself, with an idea, a Greek goddess, a dead poet, with memory, a statue, with time and everything other thing she can think of. She is humble when she writes, always saying someone else can write these thoughts better than her. She erases herself aga
...more
Zoe's Human
Apr 26, 2022 rated it really liked it
A remarkable bilingual volume of poetry touching on the ordinary in an extraordinary way.
Allison DeLauer
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend, Elaine gave me this volume for my birthday – and her fiancé showed me how to phonetically pronounce the poet’s name in Polish. It is pronounced, VISWAVA, (I think.) I have a soft spot for Wislawa. In the summer of 2005 I was smitten with a man who was both dashing and seemingly psychic. (As opposed to psychotic.) He guessed, correctly, a random gift I was preparing for him, over a quick phone call. And once when I was touring the William Eggleston exhibit in SFMOMA on a work break, I ...more
Richard
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it
I'm not sure I know what makes an author a Nobel Laureate. Unequal parts talent, promotion, and politics, I suppose. According to the Nobel Prize webpage Wislawa Szymborska was awarded "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality." That's sufficiently obscure and vague to be a blanket statement that could cover lots of poets. Vague statements seem to be the modus operandi of the Nobel committee. Here's what the ...more
Mark
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is simple, powerful poetry. The way all poetry should be. But simple in poetry is about hte hardest thing. Szymborska is a leading poet in Poland and her lines are evocative and basic in the sense that they turn an everyday observation into something more.

I'll let this poem do the explaining:

In Fact Every Poem

In factevery poem
might be called "Moment"

One phrase is enough
in the present tense,
the past and even future;

it's enough that anything
borne on words
begins to rustle, sparkle,
flutter, f
...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 peopl ...more

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64 likes · 22 comments
“We live longer
but less precisely
and in shorter sentences.”
26 likes
A Hard Life With Memory

I’m a poor audience for my memory.
She wants me to attend her voice nonstop,
but I fidget, fuss,
listen and don’t,
step out, come back, then leave again.

She wants all my time and attention.
She’s got no problem when I sleep.
The day’s a different matter, which upsets her.

She thrusts old letters, snapshots at me eagerly,
stirs up events both important and un-,
turns my eyes to overlooked views,
peoples them with my dead.

In her stories I’m always younger.
Which is nice, but why always the same story.
Every mirror holds different news for me.

She gets angry when I shrug my shoulders.
And takes revenge by hauling out old errors,
weighty, but easily forgotten.
Looks into my eyes, checks my reaction.
Then comforts me, it could be worse.

She wants me to live only for her and with her.
Ideally in a dark, locked room,
but my plans still feature today’s sun,
clouds in progress, ongoing roads.

At times I get fed up with her.
I suggest a separation. From now to eternity.
Then she smiles at me with pity,
since she knows it would be the end of me too.”
20 likes
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