Wisława Szymborska was born in Kórnik* in Western Poland on 2 July 1923. Since 1931 she has been living in Krakow, where during 1945-1948 she studied Polish Literature and Sociology at the Jagiellonian University. Szymborska made her début in March 1945 with a poem “Szukam slowa” (I am Looking for a Word) in the daily “Dziennik Polski”.
During 1953-1981 she worked as poetry editor and columnist in the Kraków literary weekly “Zycie Literackie” where the series of her essays “Lektury nadobowiazkowe” appeared (the series has been renewed lately in the addition to “Gazeta Wyborcza”-“Gazeta o Ksiazkach”). The collection “Lektury nadobowiazkowe” was published in the form of a book four times.
Szymborska has published 16 collections of poetry: Dlatego zyjemy (1952), Pytania zadawane sobie (1954), Wolanie do Yeti (1957), Sól (1962), Wiersze wybrane (1964), Poezje wybrane (1967), Sto pociech (1967), Poezje (1970), Wszelki wypadek (1972), Wybór wierszy (1973), Tarsjusz i inne wiersze (1976), Wielka liczba (1976), Poezje wybrane II (1983), Ludzie na moscie (1986). Koniec i poczatek (1993, 1996), Widok z ziarnkiem piasku. 102 wiersze (1996). Wisława Szymborska has also translated French poetry.
Her poems have been translated (and published in book form) in English, German, Swedish, Italian, Danish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Czech, Slovakian, Serbo-Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian and other languages. They have also been published in many foreign anthologies of Polish poetry.
Wisława Szymborska is the Goethe Prize winner (1991) and Herder Prize winner (1995). She has a degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters of Poznan University (1995). In 1996 she received the Polish PEN Club prize.
This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.
|A selection of works by Wisława Szymborska in English|
|People on a bridge. Poems. Introd. and transl. by Adam Czerniawski. London, Boston: Forest Books, 1990.|
|View with a grain of sand. Selected poems. Transl. by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1995.|
|Nothing twice. Selected poems. Selected and transl. by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. Kraków: Wydawn. Literackie, 1997.|
|Poems, new and collected, 1957-1997. Transl. by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998.|
|Miracle fair. Selected poems. Transl. by Joanna Trzeciak. New York: Norton, 2001.|
|Nonrequired reading. Prose pieces. Transl. by Clare Cavanagh. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2002.|
Wisława Szymborska died on 1 February 2012.