Polish poet awarded Nobel Prize in literature
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska was
named winner of the Nobel Prize for literature October 3. She
was cited for her "poetry that with ironic precision allows
the historical and biological context to come to light in
fragments of human reality."
Szymborska, 73, has also published book reviews and
translations of French poetry. She lives in the
Polish city of Krakow.
"I am very happy, stunned and frightened," she said on
nationwide Radio Zet. "I'm afraid I will not have a quiet
life now. It is hard to believe but I was never hoping for an
Tadeusz Nyczek, a writer and literary critic, told the Zycie
daily that Szymborska was "Poland's best female poet since
In its citation announcing the winner, the Swedish Academy
said, "The stylistic variety in her poetry makes it extremely
difficult to translate, but there nevertheless exist a number
of works in other languages so that the major part of her
poetry is accessible to a wider readership."
The academy also said that Szymborska had disclaimed the work
with which she made her debut in 1952 and its successor in
1954, both attempts to conform to social realism at a time
when communist censorship held sway over Poland.
The literature prize was the first of this year's Nobel honors
to be announced, and it is the richest in the
prestigious award's history: 7.4 million kronor, or $1.1
Selection defies critics
The Swedish Academy keeps its deliberations secret and does
not say who was nominated for the prize. Informal surveys of
critics and publishers turned up a score of names that were
believed to have been nominees.
Exiled Chinese poet Bei Dao was high on many predictors'
lists this year. Others had expected a novelist to win
because Irish poet Seamus Heaney claimed last year's prize.
The academy stood by its selection. "With her distance and
commitment, Szymborska accords full support to her idea that
no questions are of such significance as those that are
To highlight Szymborska's art, the academy quoted the last
stanza from her 1980 poem, "Nothing Twice," which translated
into English reads:
"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."
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