Elaine Feinstein

The Irony of Wislava Szymborska

In London, I remember the indignation.
   Surely the Nobel prize should have gone
to Zbigniew Herbert, the Polish poet we loved
   – dissident, charismatic, much translated –
not some woman we had barely heard of?

I thought Polish poems should resemble films of Wajda,
   charged with the electricity of war.
Szymborska’s poetry held no such glamour.
   She had not played a part in the Resistance.

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