I’ve always thought I’d really enjoy writing staff recommendations if I ever got a job at a bookstore. Well, as you may or may not know, I did get a job at a bookstore (which is in large part why I’ve been such a negligent writer recently…though to be honest there are more complicated factors in play when it comes to the near-complete absence of writing from my recent life) and the whole staff rec thing actually was a bit of a challenge for me…
But I did finally write one, spurred on by the fact that a book came out by a poet who I really love and who I want to recommend to everyone. I figured since this recommendation counts as writing about reading, it’s only fair I share it here as well.
So, here’s my recommendation for Here, a newly released collection of poems by Wislawa Szymborksa.
Polish Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborksa is one of my favorite poets, perhaps my favorite living poet. She’s certainly the one I’d most like to have tea with, if cover photos are anything to go by.
If you’ve never read Szymborksa before, the 27 poems in this short volume are a wonderful introduction to her work, and if you’ve been following her poetry for years, Here is like a long awaited conversation with an old friend who’s been living far, far away.
This collection showcases the roaming curiosity of Szymborksa’s poetic eye (she writes about everything from metaphysics and memory to assassins, accidents, and the art of poetry itself), her ability to create language which is simultaneously intricate and direct, and the modesty, wisdom and humor which made me love her poetry in the first place. These are poems which open outward even as they zero in, poems of such simplicity and depth that they’ll move you on the first reading and stay with you for years to come.