Early, unseen Szymborska poems hit the shelves
WARSAW, Poland – Nobel literature laureate Wislawa Szymborska's earliest poems will hit the shelves Wednesday, October 8, in her native Poland in a posthumous collection of mostly never-before-seen work, her publisher said.
The "Black Song" collection features poems of varying quality written by the 1996 Nobel laureate when she was just starting out in the 1940s, according to Znak publishing house chief Henryk Wozniakowski.
They were not exactly auspicious years.
When she submitted a few of the poems to the literary supplement of a local daily in 1945, the chief editor at the time, Adam Wlodek, was unimpressed.
He found the work weak and only published one poem after a major overhaul, which Szymborska agreed to for the sake of a paycheck.
But that first minor success encouraged her to keep at it until, half a century later, she was recognised both at home and abroad for the measured elegance and humour of her poetry.
She also wound up marrying Wlodek a few years after he salvaged that first poem. The relationship did not last, but they remained lifelong friends and Szymborska set up a poetry scholarship in his name.
She was a harsh critic of her own early work, describing some of the pro-communist poetry as "demagogic" and carefully destroying the worst of the batch before her death in 2012.
But she okayed the publication of the "Black Song" poems, Wozniakowski told AFP.
Szymborska published over 20 collections of poetry in her lifetime. They were translated into many languages but she was especially popular at home and in Italy, Spain and the United States.
Listen to a reading of one of her most famous poems, "The End and the Beginning," here: