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100th anniversary of Wisława Szymborska’s birth. A jubilee performance on the stage of the Relax Stage, performed by, among others, Grazyna Szapołowska

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One hundred years ago Wisława Szymborska was born. To celebrate the outstanding Nobel Prize winner, Grażyna Szapołowska returned to the stage of the theater after ten years. Together with her daughter, Katarzyna Jungowska, she prepared a musical and poetic performance “Wisławie – Grażyna”. At the premiere, which took place at the Scena Relax theater in Warsaw, we were with our camera.

The performance was written and directed by Katarzyna Jungowska. The author of the music is the composer Karo Glazer, the lighting director is Jacqueline Sobiszewski, the multimedia visualization director is Hektor Werios. Piotr Makarski accompanied Grażyna Szapołowska on the stage of Warsaw’s Relax Stage. In front of the TVN24 camera, the actress emphasized the universality and timelessness of Wisława Szymborska’s work.

– These are the messages that sum up the whole world. With the greatest transformations, certain values ​​remain that do not change. It was her gift, she picked up, but did not shock. This is very difficult for poets – emphasized Grażyna Szapołowska.

– Her poems are absolutely timely and I think they always will be. Wisława Szymborska wrote about things that will always be close to us – people. We can learn from her to look at ordinary things carefully – added Natalia Lesz, actress and singer.

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Read also: For the consolation of Szymborska. Famous actors read the Nobel Prize winner’s poems as part of the “100 Children” campaign

In turn, Katarzyna Jungowska, the director of the performance, emphasized that it is necessary to remind who and what Wisława Szymborska was like.

– This is the message that she would probably like to tell us when she said goodbye. She is present with us in spirit – emphasized Jungowska.

Nobel Prize winner and word virtuoso

Wisława Szymborska was born on July 2, 1923. She made her debut in March 1945 with the poem “I am looking for a word”, published in the supplement of “Dziennik Polski” entitled “Fight”. Her first book of poems is Why We Live (1952). The poems published during the height of Stalinism bear the stamp of their era. Years later, Szymborska explained the socialist realist accents in her early poems, saying that at that time she sympathized with the system because she “loved humanity in its entirety, only to appreciate years later the value of loving individual individuals.” Already in the volume “Wołanie do Yeti”, published in 1957, one can see the characteristic features of Szymborska’s poetics – aphorism and the use of paradox as the basic rhetorical figure. The following volumes of her poems are: Salt (1962), One Hundred Consolations (1967), Just In Case (1972), Great Number (1976), People on the Bridge (1986), The End and the Beginning (1993), “The Moment” (2002), “The Colon” (2005) and “Here” (2008). Szymborska published about 350 poems. Her works have been translated into over 40 languages. In 1996, she received the Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to appear in fragments of human reality”, which Stanisław Lem commented: “The Nobel Prize was simply due.” The necessity of public appearances and the popularity associated with the Nobel Prize turned out to be so unbearable that Szymborska’s friends divided her life into two stages: before the “Stockholm tragedy” and after it. “She bore it with dignity,” summed up the poet’s friend, Jerzy Illg.

Wisława Szymborska left unpublished poems TVN24

Szymborska was a virtuoso of words, literary critics emphasize. The conciseness and accuracy of her poetic imagery made the poems of the Nobel Prize winner among the most widely known and most often quoted; some of them found their way into everyday language. Probably her most popular poem, which blended with the Polish language and is sometimes quoted without being aware that it is the poetry of the Nobel Prize winner, is “Nic Twice”: “Nothing twice happens / and will not happen. For this reason / we were born without practice / and we will die without routine […]The poem “Cat in an Empty Apartment” is also very popular, in which Szymborska, a cat lover, wrote after the death of her longtime partner and friend Kornel Filipowicz: “To die – you don’t do that to a cat. Because what’s a cat to do in an empty apartment […]In the primary school program for many years there was a poem “A minute of silence after Ludwika Wawrzyńska”, from which another extremely popular quote comes: “We know as much about ourselves / as much as we have been checked”.

She left in 2012

Szymborska’s friends, Elżbieta and Jan Pindl, recalled that several years before her death, the poet knew she had an aortic aneurysm, but she did not want surgery. In November 2011, however, she was hospitalized. She did not want to talk about her illness, she dreamed of going home, putting her papers in order. The last piece she wrote was a note on the flap of Edward Gorey’s book The Peculiar Guy: “Some people are addictively morose. Gorey puts them in rehab.” The last humorous quatrain that the poet composed referred to her condition after the operation: “The Dutch are a wise nation / because they know what to do / when natural breathing stops.” Wisława Szymborska died on February 1, 2012, at home, in a dream. In the seven years that have passed since her death, readers’ knowledge of the poet’s private life, which she carefully guarded, has grown considerably. In 2016, her correspondence with her beloved writer Kornel Filipowicz was published. “We were together for 23 years. A wonderful man, a great writer. We didn’t live together, we didn’t disturb each other. We were horses that gallop side by side,” the poet recalled Filipowicza.

Wisława Szymborska died on February 1, 2012 TVN24

The recently published volume All Poems contains Szymborska’s poems from 1945–2011. The arrangement is chronological – from the first post-war rehearsals printed in the press and only published in 2014 in a volume composed by Joanna Szczęsna and entitled “Black Song” – to the last collection “Enough” from 2012.

– This is a total of fourteen books of poetry with added scattered poems and poems read from typescripts and manuscripts, which readers will get acquainted with for the first time, unpublished texts, so far scattered, unknown, which do not have the author’s final imprimatur, often unfinished, written down from manuscripts and typescripts – said prof. Wojciech Ligęza, literary scholar, expert in Szymborska’s works.

Main photo source: tvn24.pl

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