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  • NYS Writers Institute

Born #OTD: Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska

Today we celebrate the poet, essayist and translator Wislawa Szymborska, born on this date in 1923. 

A Polish poet whose work was widely translated into English, sbe authored more than 15 books of poetry and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996 "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality."

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Stanislaw Barańczak said: "Wit, wisdom and warmth are equally important ingredients in the mixture of qualities that makes her so unusual and every poem of hers so unforgettable."

An excerpt from "Nothing Twice" 

Wislawa Szymborska (July 2, 1923 – February 1, 2012)


Why do we treat the fleeting day

with so much needless fear and sorrow?

It's in its nature not to stay:

Today is always gone tomorrow.


With smiles and kisses, we prefer

to seek accord beneath our star,

although we're different (we concur)

just as two drops of water are.



From Poems New and Collected: 1957-1997 by Wislawa Szymborska.

Copyright © 1998 by Wislawa Szymborska. 


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