Finding Szymborska Day 1…..Wait a minute…..Day 1,037!

Today is the day we begin cataloging the journey we shall call: ‘Finding Szymborksa.’  Although this is Day 1 for the blog, the act of finding this Nobel prize winning, 86 year old, Polish speaking, reclusive poet has been an ongoing one for me, the creator of the blog, the website, and the band Closer Ocean.


I sort of feel like Ray Kinsella from “Field of Dreams,” heading out on the road to find the Salinger-esque Terrance Mann.  Ray was egged on by a voice in the cornfield which told him “If you build it, he will come” and  “Ease His Pain.”

Although my quest seems perhaps more ridiculous based on the qualifications of Ms. Szymborska, (Terrance Mann did speak English after all, so how hard could that be?)  I haven’t been spoken to by crazy voices in my head.  All I did was listen to NPR.

NPR’s afternoon show “All Things Considered” appears on the surface to be a relatively straightforward news program.  Most listeners don’t end up on a multi year creative project based on a 4 minute segment simply titled “You Must Read This.”  The name itself in retrospect must have felt to me, a competitive and daring soul, like a challenge to run the gauntlet or at least step over some piping hot charcoals.

So I did ‘read this.’  I actually was very moved by the poetry and the passion segment writer’s voice (thanks a lot, Adam Gopnik!) that I drove straight to the nearest B & N and picked up her book, “Poems; New and Collected.”  That was June 5th, 2007.  One-thousand-thirty-seven days ago.

In that span, I read her works over and over again.  I spent many of those days captivated by her language.  I laughed at her wit and sense of humor.  I explained certain passages to my then girlfriend (now wife) Annie.  I said to Annie, “perhaps some of these poems would work as popular music.”  They are interesting and universal themes, and listeners would perhaps peel away the words right down to the soul.

I started innocently enough with just a few tracks on my home recording system.

In the blog entries ahead, I will not only continue moving forward with actually finding Ms. Szymborska, but I will also let you in on the journey that existed between days 1 and 1,037.  The album is nearing completion and a few tracks are available to listen to on this site.  Please enjoy.  Please help.  Do you speak Polish or write poetry in Krakow?

3 Responses to “Finding Szymborska Day 1…..Wait a minute…..Day 1,037!”

  1. It’s beautiful when you have one of those moments. I was like that with Solveig von Schoultz, sadly much less well known in the English speaking world than Wisława Szymborska.

    And really Szymborska herself isn’t well known – especially when you consider her stature as one of Poland’s greatest poets.

  2. I’ll have to check out Solveig von Schoultz. And you’re right, although I talk to a lot of people about my forthcoming album, and the ones that do know Szymborska are true fans of her creative works.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Kevin. I have just discovered Wislawa Szymborska a few weeks ago and am in love with what little of her work I’ve tasted so far. I listen to “All Things Considered” once in a while, too, so I know what you mean – there is often something or someone fascinating to learn about! I’m looking forward to exploring your other sites and music.

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