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Literary Icons: Wislawa Szymborska


"Look at that spider on the ceiling."

Sometime in April last year, I was invited to a poetry event hosted by Instituto Cervantes. The program said they would be featuring both European and Filipino poets performing side by side. This of course got me excited, for upon reading the program, I saw some really big names in European literature. And the name that caught my eye was Wislawa Szymborska. Yes, the Nobel laureate. If I could perform a poem in the same line-up as a Nobel laureate, then my literary career would have reached its peak.

But it turns out Ms. Szymborska wasn't coming to the event. She wasn't even coming to the Philippines. Her work would simply be read by some Polish representative. Probably an exiled Polish pedophile.

Anyway, that was the closest I got to meeting Wislawa Szymborska. Thanks, Instituto Cervantes!



Wisława Szymborska. 2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012.

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