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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,200 ratings  ·  138 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 ever. 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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4.25  · 
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 ·  1,200 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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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
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 poems come
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
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, gbbw
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
Steven Godin
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

"A gale
stripped all the leaves from the trees last night
except for one leaf
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."


"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 memories
Jane Reye
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry

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.

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
"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
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,
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
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.
This bilingual collection is superb, I only wish I understood Polish so I can compare the original and the translation better.
Courtney Johnston
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed, poetry
I first read this poem about six months ago


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
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
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
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
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
Reem Rafei
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"Possibilities" is my favorite of all!
Her poetry is greatt!!
Hoda Marmar
Mar 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
My favorites are:
- The end and the beginning
- Under one small star
- The silence of the plants
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
I don't really understand poetry so I don't feel like I can rate this. Some of the poems were nice but some I didn't understand or I didn't see the point of. I think with me my issue with a lot of poetry is that there's no context, maybe if I looked up more about the poems I'd be able to find the context or the meaning of the poems but at the moment this is maybe a 3 star book.
Laura Leaney
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The only other book of Szymborska's poetry I've read is Monologue of A Dog so I'm no expert in all her work, but thus far I can say that none of her poems is difficult to read. They seem, on the surface, quite ordinary. Perhaps a reader might call them plain. I feel like I could easily read one or three on a train, without earbuds in, and understand what they're about. At least on the surface.

The remarkable effect of reading Wisława Szymborska's poems is how each one adheres to the mind. I read
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Yang kurang dari buku ini hanya satu: puisinya kurang banyak. Hanya ada 27 puisi, tapi semuanya benar-benar luar biasa. Puisi-puisi Wislawa selalu menghadirkan tema segar dengan kedalaman pengamatan yang luar biasa.

Ini dua puisi yang paling berkesan:


An idea came to me for a rhyme? a poem?
Well, fine—I say—stay a while, we'll talk.
Tell me a little more about yourself.

So it whispered a few words in my ear.

Ah, so that's the story—I say—intriguing.
These matters have long weighed upon
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm usually hesitant about reading books of poetry in translation; not because I don't think they'll be finely wrought, but simply because a a poet myself, I know how painstakingly one must choose each verb and noun, how a line's syntax should be so tied to its meaning and sound. So translating a work, no matter how faithfully, changes it radically. This book is amazing; which is to say, that Szymborska, as read through Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak is a poet worthy of her recognition a ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Szymborska's collection, Here, is a little box of miniature thoughts and pictures with a real sense of the poet's self. She picks and sorts through her mind with casual, informal words, giving shape and form to elements of her self such as memory, thought, the appearance of an idea, nostalgia and her past. Others are more detached, less personal observations - in bookshops, of an accident, on Ella Fitzgerald.

Some of the poems seem delightfully like first drafts, having a very natural flow, an al
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Billions of faces on the earth's surface.
Each different, so we're told,
from those that have been and will be.
But Nature - since who really understands her? -
may grow tired of her ceaseless labors
and so repeats earlier ideas
by supplying us
with preworn faces.
- Thoughts that Visit Me on Busy Streets

My reading was encumbered by the poem "Ella in Heaven". I was enjoying the collection until I reached this poem, in which a black woman prays to God to make her "a happy white girl". God refuses th
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's hard to come up with anything new to say about Szymborska. She's spectacular and fully deserved the Nobel Prize for her poetry. This collection is no different, it's not her best, but it's still very very good. I noticed a slight shift in tone with this collection, but not sure how much of it comes from my own awareness of her death and how much comes from the poetry. The impression I had was that a number of the poems in this collection had a strong sense of oncoming doom. Poems about peop ...more
Farhan Khalid
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: european, nobel, poetry
I can't speak for elsewhere, but here on Earth we've got a fair supply of everything

Ignorance works overtime here, something is always being counted, compared, measured

Life on Earth is quite a bargain

You spin on the planets' carousel for free

Billions of faces on the earth's surface, each different, so we’re told

Nature may grow tired of her ceaseless labors and so repeats earlier ideas

Those passerby might be Archimedes in jeans

We differ so profoundly, talk and think about completely different thi
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite poets. Her words are, at turns, playful, provocative, mundane and modern, and ancient and evocative. This is a bilingual text with the original Polish on the left page, the English translation on the right. It's interesting at times to compare the two, even without a comprehensive knowledge of Szymborska's native tongue.
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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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“We live longer
but less precisely
and in shorter sentences.”
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.”
More quotes…