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Journal, Day Five April 21, 2006: Wislawa Szymborska’s Do’s and Don’ts Continued (With One Example of How It’s Done) To Esko, from Sieradz: Youth really is an intriguing period in one’s life. If one adds writerly ambitions to the difficulties of youth, one must possess an exceptionally strong constitution in order to cope. Its components should include: [...] by

Journal, Day Four April 20, 2006: Wislawa Szymborska’s Tips on Poetry for Daily Use To Ula from Sopot: A definition of poetry in one sentence—well. We know at least five hundred definitions, but none of them strikes us as both precise and capacious enough. Each expresses the taste of its own age. Inborn scepticism keeps us from trying our hand at our own. But we remember [...] by

Journal, Day Three April 19, 2006: Szymborska’s Tips for Beginning Bards, Part Three “In Central and Eastern Europe,” Czeslaw Milosz proclaims, “the word ‘poet’ has a somewhat different meaning from that which it has in the West. There a poet does not merely arrange words in beautiful order. Tradition demands that he be a ‘bard,’ that his songs linger on many [...] by

Journal, Day Two April 18, 2006: The Use and Abuse of Poetry for Life, Part Two, or Wislawa Szymborska’s Do’s and Don’t for Beginning Poets, Continued “Poets are poetry, writers are prose,” Szymborska comments in her resolutely anti-poetic “Stage Fright”—or so public opinion would have it. Prose can hold anything including poetry, but in poetry [...] by

Journal, Day One April 17, 2006: The Uses and Abuses of Poetry for Life “What would American poets and critics do without the Central Europeans and the Russians to browbeat themselves with?” Maureen McLane exclaims in a recent issue of the Chicago Tribune book review (December 11, 2005). “Milosz, Wislawa Szymborska, Adam Zagajewski, Zbigniew Herbert, Joseph [...] by