Friday, January 12, 2018

Szymborska: Some People Like Poetry

Here is one of my favorite poems written by my favorite author of adult poetry:

By Wislawa Szymborska
—Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.

Some people—
that means not everyone.
Not even most of them, only a few.
Not counting school, where you have to,
and poets themselves,
you might end up with something like two per thousand.
but then, you can like chicken noodle soup,
or compliments, or the color blue,
your old scarf,
your own way,
petting the dog.

Click here to read the rest of the poem.

Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. I found an interesting New York Times article about her poem Some People Like Poetry when two different translations of it were published in The New Yorker and The New Republic back in 1996. The Times posted both translations of the poem's final stanza. I prefer the version that was translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh. It's the version I've read many times in her book Poems New and Collected 1957-1977.

Click here to read the New York Times article.

Jan has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Book Seed Studio.


Mary Lee said...

I love the "redemptive handrail" of not knowing. So. Much. Truth.

Kay said...

I love this poem. Thank you for the introduction. It makes me think of Charles Bukowski's poem "Defining the Magic," where he gives multiple answers to what a good poem is--or can do.

jan godown annino said...

This is a nourishing post, Elaine.

I'm soaking up ideas for a poetry event I'm planning.

And the spark I felt when I read her word, "rickety" -
I agree with you about the translations.

Many appreciations for the links.
And for introducing me to a poet new to me.