Wisława Szymborska

Wisława Szymborska - Nobel Laureate in Literature, Birthday and Personal Life

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Wisława Szymborska's Personal Details

Wisława Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist and translator who won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 2, 1923
Died onFebruary 1, 2012
NationalityPolish
FamousNobel Laureates In Literature, Writers, Poets, Essayists, Nobel Laureate in Literature
SpousesAdam Włodek
Known asMaria Wisława Anna Szymborska
Universities
  • 1948 - Jagiellonian University
Birth PlaceKórnik
GenderFemale
FatherWincenty Szymborski
MotherAnna Szymborski
Sun SignCancer
Born inKórnik
Famous asNobel Laureate in Literature
Died at Age88

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Wisława Szymborska's photo

Who is Wisława Szymborska?

Wisława Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist and translator. Based at Kraków since the age of eight, she had her fair share of trouble because of untimely death of her father and German occupation of Poland. Although she started writing poems at the age of five and had her debut in Kraków newspaper at the age of 22, circumstances did not allow her to publish her first book until she was 29. Her first book, which was to be published in 1949, did not pass censorship as it did not reflect the communist ideology. Therefore, she changed her style and her next two books followed the party line. Later she regretted her stance and admitted that it was a mistake. With time, her works became more mature and became famous for ironic precision. Paradox, contradiction and understatements were other hallmarks of her works. She was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Described as the ‘Mozart of Poetry’ Szymborska kept on writing poems almost till her death.

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Childhood & Early Life

Wisława Szymborska was born on July 2, 1923 in Prowent, now a part of Kórnik town in western Poland. She was the second child of her parents, Wincenty Szymborska, and Anna (née Rottermund) Szymborski.

At the time of her birth, her mother was working as a steward under Count Władysław Zamoyski, who owned a large property including the town of Kórnik. When the count died in 1924, the family moved to Torun. Wislawa started writing poetry at the age of five while studying in an elementary school in Torun.

Environment at her home was quite intellectual; everybody read a lot and discussed about books. Wisława always showed her poems to her father and if he liked what she wrote he gave her coin as a reward.

For some reason, the family again made a move and in 1931, settled at Kraków, one of the oldest cities in Poland. Wisława was enrolled at a convent school in Kraków, but could not finish her studies there.

As the Second World War set in, Germany occupied Poland and in 1940, the Polish citizens were barred from attending public schools. Wisława continued her studies in an underground school. Her father had died by that time.

In 1943, she took up a job under a railroad company. This helped her to evade deportation to Germany as forced labor. This was also the period when she got the job of creating illustrations for an English language text book and began to write stories and poems.

When the war ended in 1945, Wisława enrolled at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow to study Polish literature. Later she shifted to sociology. However, she had to leave her studies in 1948 without earning her degree due to financial constraints.

Career

Wisława Szymborska began her literary career while studying at the Jagiellonian University. In March 1945, she made her debut in a Kraków newspaper called Dziennik Polski with her poem ‘Szukam słowa’ (I Seek the Word). Soon, many other poems began to appear in different local news papers and periodicals.

After leaving her studies in 1948, she took up the job of the secretary in a bi-weekly educational magazine. At the same time, she also worked as the illustrator for the magazine and continued to write poetry.

In 1949, she completed her first collection of poems. Unfortunately, the book did not pass censorship as the poems did not reflect the communist ideology of postwar Poland. Therefore, she began to work in that line.

Like most intellectuals of that era, young Szymborska’s early works reflected socialist philosophy followed by Poland at that time. Her debut collection ‘Dlatego żyjemy’ (That is what we are living for), published in 1952, contains many poems that echoed her political belief.

In 1953, she joined a weekly magazine called Życie Literackie (Literary Life) as an editorial staff. Some time now, she also became a member of Polish United Workers’ Party. Her next collection, ‘Pytania zadawane sobie’ (Questions Put to Myself), published in 1954, echoed the same socialist sentiment.

However, she soon got disillusioned with communist ideology and her third collection ‘Wołanie do Yeti’ (Calling Out to Yeti), published in 1957, bears testimony to such shifts. Poems in this collection show her deep concern for humanity and in one poem, she compared Soviet leader Stalin to an abominable snowman. Ultimately, she severed all ties with Polish United Workers’ Party.

It was ‘Sol’ (Salt), published in 1962, which established her as a mature poet. Since then, she wrote numerous poems. In all, she had 21 books to her credit. Her last book ‘Błysk rewolwru’ (The Glimmer of a Revolver) was published posthumously in 2013.

Indeed, Szymborska was not just a famous poet. Over the years, she also gained considerable reputation for her book reviews and translations of French poetry. From 1968, she ran her own book review column called ‘Lektury Nadobowiązkowe’. Later she published many of these essays as a book.

Her association with Życie Literackie ended in 1981 and for next two years she was the editor of NaGlos (OutLoud), a Kraków-based monthly periodical. At the same time, she intensified her oppositional activities.

This was also the time when she began to contribute to the dissident periodical called Arka. However, she used a pseudonym ‘Stańczykówna’. Besides, she also made regular contribution to the Kultura, a leading Polish-émigré literary-political magazine, published from Paris.

Major Works

Among Szymborska’s collections, ‘Sól’ (1962; Salt), ‘Sto pociech’ (1967; No End of Fun), and ‘Wszelki wypadek’ (1972; Could Have) are most noteworthy. The poems in these three collections are especially remarkable for their language and precision. At the same time they all posses a sense of ironic detachment.

’Dwukropek’ (Colon), published in 2005, is another of her major works. It was selected as the best book of 2006 by readers of Gazeta Wyborcza, a popular newspaper published from Warsaw.

Awards & Achievements

Wisława Szymborska was awarded 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"

Other than the Nobel Prize, Szymborska received many other prizes including the Polish Ministry of Culture Prize (1963), Goethe Prize (1991), Herder Prize (1995) and Polish PEN Club prize (1996) etc.

In 1995, she was bestowed with Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan).

In 2011, Szymborska received Order Orła Białego or the Order of the White Eagle. It is the highest honor bestowed to any individual by the Government of Poland.

Personal Life & Legacy

Wisława Szymborska married poet Adam Włodek in 1948. Their little house at 22 Krupnicza Street in Kraków became a hub for the writers. However, the couple split up in 1954; but remained close friends till death. They did not have any children.

She died peacefully in her sleep on February 1, 2012 at her home in Kraków. She was then 88 years old and was working on a new poem.

Today Szymborska’s poems have been included in school syllabus. Now she is also an internationaly known poet and her work has been translated into different European languages like English, French and German as well as into Asian languages like Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese.

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Wisława Szymborska's awards

YearNameAward

Other

1995Herder Prize
2006Nike Award: Audience Award - Colon
01996 - Nobel Prize in Literature
0 1991 - Goethe Prize
0 1990 - Kościelski Award - People on a Bridge

Wisława Szymborska biography timelines

  • // 2nd Jul 1923
    Wisława Szymborska was born on July 2, 1923 in Prowent, now a part of Kórnik town in western Poland. She was the second child of her parents, Wincenty Szymborska, and Anna (née Rottermund) Szymborski.
  • // 1924
    At the time of her birth, her mother was working as a steward under Count Władysław Zamoyski, who owned a large property including the town of Kórnik. When the count died in 1924, the family moved to Torun. Wislawa started writing poetry at the age of five while studying in an elementary school in Torun.
  • // 1931
    For some reason, the family again made a move and in 1931, settled at Kraków, one of the oldest cities in Poland. Wisława was enrolled at a convent school in Kraków, but could not finish her studies there.
  • // 1940
    As the Second World War set in, Germany occupied Poland and in 1940, the Polish citizens were barred from attending public schools. Wisława continued her studies in an underground school. Her father had died by that time.
  • // 1943
    In 1943, she took up a job under a railroad company. This helped her to evade deportation to Germany as forced labor. This was also the period when she got the job of creating illustrations for an English language text book and began to write stories and poems.
  • // 1945 To 1948
    When the war ended in 1945, Wisława enrolled at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow to study Polish literature. Later she shifted to sociology. However, she had to leave her studies in 1948 without earning her degree due to financial constraints.
  • // Mar 1945
    Wisława Szymborska began her literary career while studying at the Jagiellonian University. In March 1945, she made her debut in a Kraków newspaper called Dziennik Polski with her poem ‘Szukam słowa’ (I Seek the Word). Soon, many other poems began to appear in different local news papers and periodicals.
  • // 1948
    After leaving her studies in 1948, she took up the job of the secretary in a bi-weekly educational magazine. At the same time, she also worked as the illustrator for the magazine and continued to write poetry.
  • // 1948 To 1954
    Wisława Szymborska married poet Adam Włodek in 1948. Their little house at 22 Krupnicza Street in Kraków became a hub for the writers. However, the couple split up in 1954; but remained close friends till death. They did not have any children.
  • // 1949
    In 1949, she completed her first collection of poems. Unfortunately, the book did not pass censorship as the poems did not reflect the communist ideology of postwar Poland. Therefore, she began to work in that line.
  • // 1952
    Like most intellectuals of that era, young Szymborska’s early works reflected socialist philosophy followed by Poland at that time. Her debut collection ‘Dlatego żyjemy’ (That is what we are living for), published in 1952, contains many poems that echoed her political belief.
  • // 1953 To 1954
    In 1953, she joined a weekly magazine called Życie Literackie (Literary Life) as an editorial staff. Some time now, she also became a member of Polish United Workers’ Party. Her next collection, ‘Pytania zadawane sobie’ (Questions Put to Myself), published in 1954, echoed the same socialist sentiment.
  • // 1957
    However, she soon got disillusioned with communist ideology and her third collection ‘Wołanie do Yeti’ (Calling Out to Yeti), published in 1957, bears testimony to such shifts. Poems in this collection show her deep concern for humanity and in one poem, she compared Soviet leader Stalin to an abominable snowman. Ultimately, she severed all ties with Polish United Workers’ Party.
  • // 1962 To 2013
    It was ‘Sol’ (Salt), published in 1962, which established her as a mature poet. Since then, she wrote numerous poems. In all, she had 21 books to her credit. Her last book ‘Błysk rewolwru’ (The Glimmer of a Revolver) was published posthumously in 2013.
  • // 1968
    Indeed, Szymborska was not just a famous poet. Over the years, she also gained considerable reputation for her book reviews and translations of French poetry. From 1968, she ran her own book review column called ‘Lektury Nadobowiązkowe’. Later she published many of these essays as a book.
  • // 1981
    Her association with Życie Literackie ended in 1981 and for next two years she was the editor of NaGlos (OutLoud), a Kraków-based monthly periodical. At the same time, she intensified her oppositional activities.
  • // 1995
    In 1995, she was bestowed with Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan).
  • // 1996
    Wisława Szymborska was awarded 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"
  • // 2005 To 2006
    ’Dwukropek’ (Colon), published in 2005, is another of her major works. It was selected as the best book of 2006 by readers of Gazeta Wyborcza, a popular newspaper published from Warsaw.
  • // 2011
    In 2011, Szymborska received Order Orła Białego or the Order of the White Eagle. It is the highest honor bestowed to any individual by the Government of Poland.
  • // 1st Feb 2012
    She died peacefully in her sleep on February 1, 2012 at her home in Kraków. She was then 88 years old and was working on a new poem.

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Wisława Szymborska's FAQ

  • What is Wisława Szymborska birthday?

    Wisława Szymborska was born at 1923-07-02

  • When was Wisława Szymborska died?

    Wisława Szymborska was died at 2012-02-01

  • Where was Wisława Szymborska died?

    Wisława Szymborska was died in Kraków

  • Which age was Wisława Szymborska died?

    Wisława Szymborska was died at age 88

  • Where is Wisława Szymborska's birth place?

    Wisława Szymborska was born in Kórnik

  • What is Wisława Szymborska nationalities?

    Wisława Szymborska's nationalities is Polish

  • Who is Wisława Szymborska spouses?

    Wisława Szymborska's spouses is Adam Włodek

  • What was Wisława Szymborska universities?

    Wisława Szymborska studied at 1948 - Jagiellonian University

  • Who is Wisława Szymborska's father?

    Wisława Szymborska's father is Wincenty Szymborski

  • Who is Wisława Szymborska's mother?

    Wisława Szymborska's mother is Anna Szymborski

  • What is Wisława Szymborska's sun sign?

    Wisława Szymborska is Cancer

  • How famous is Wisława Szymborska?

    Wisława Szymborska is famouse as Nobel Laureate in Literature