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Monologue of a Dog Hardcover – November 7, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Hardcover, November 7, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nobel laureate Symborska takes on current events and ancient conundrums in this elegant, terse new collection. The title abbreviates the opening poem, "Monologue of a Dog Ensnared in History": the dog stands for all the citizens who served, or simply failed to resist, dictators, then wondered at the revolutions that displaced them. Other poems consider wartime victims: "What if... I'd been born/ in the wrong tribe,/ with all roads closed before me?" One poem perhaps destined for widespread reprinting depicts with tact and awe the jumping, falling casualties of September 11. Yet Symborska (View with a Grain of Sand) also excels with slower, less topical concerns. "Joy and sorrow," she explains, "aren't two different feelings" for the human soul; rather, the soul "attends us/ only when the two are joined." Symborska and her translators (the Polish is on facing pages) achieve a diction suited to her drily understated wisdom, and some of her work may be quoted far and wide; "Life is the only way," another poem advises, "to get covered in leaves,/ catch your breath on the sand,/ rise on wings." (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It contains only 26 poems, and the Polish originals fill half the pages, yet few poetry collections should pass up this book. Szymborska's keenly imaginative wisdom is one of the glories of contemporary world poetry. In "Early Hour" she gives us not a wakeful or waking piece but a virtual motion picture of her immediate circumstances while she is still asleep: "This rarely astounds me," she says, "but it should." Few readers will not be astonished, however, and struck by the vigor of the poem's Heraclitean realization. "A Few Words on the Soul" expounds a phenomenology of the soul: "No one's got it non-stop, / for keeps," Szymborska ventures before positing when it does and doesn't attend us. Szymborska's highly unorthodox concept feels refreshingly right. The gently mocking "Plato, or Why" wonders how the Ideal could have condescended to mingle with matter, mortality, and "those appalling poets." Yes, this is philosophical poetry, of the front stoop and the fence rather than the lectern, and altogether marvelous. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; First Edition edition (November 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151012202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012206
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Featuring both the original Polish text and a full English translation, Monologue Of A Dog is a contemplative poetry collection musing about elements as diverse as unremembered love, mislaid keys in the grass, the district firemen's ball, and the wonders of the cosmos. Author Wislawa Szymborska, who earned the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996, offers poignantly insightful lyrics that cut straight to the emotional quick of the reader. A Memory: We were chatting / and suddenly stopped short. / A lovely girl stepped onto the terrace, / so lovely, / too lovely / for us to enjoy our trip. // Basia shot her husband a stricken look. / Krystyna took Zbyszek's hand / reflexively. / I thought: I'll call you, / tell you, don't come just yet, / they're predicting rain for days. // Only Agnieszka, a widow, / met the lovely girl with a smile.
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Lovely, thoughtful, deep, unusual, musings on painful or fascinating contradictions...SO EASY to READ and UNDERSTAND. You will pause and read again if poetry is "your thing." Written in Polish language on one side of the page and truly beautiful English translation on the other.
Wislawa died in February of 2012 and I miss her, even though I only met her on line.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a set of selected poems by Wieslawa Szymborska. It is a perfect gift for an English speaking person, who likes to read poetry and/or is learning Polish. I'm Polish and I like reading both Polish and English versions. I like the arrangement of this book, each line is translated on the corresponding line on the following page.
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