A Fascinating Journey with Two Women Poets ; Szymborska's Work Makes Imaginative Leaps, While Hirshfield's Is Analytical

By Lund, Elizabeth | The Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Fascinating Journey with Two Women Poets ; Szymborska's Work Makes Imaginative Leaps, While Hirshfield's Is Analytical


Lund, Elizabeth, The Christian Science Monitor


Often poets don't look at the world straight on. They gaze down in order to glimpse something clearly. Or they peer in so they can see out. Such is the case with two new books by major women writers: Monologue of a Dog by Wislawa Szymborska and After by Jane Hirshfield. Both women take readers on fascinating intellectual journeys, yet they follow very different paths.

"Monologue of a Dog" will delight readers with its even quality. The poems work the way her earlier ones have, often beginning with a fact or an image that gets transformed into something grander.

Szymborska easily moves from small to large and back, always taking the long view. This ability is one reason the Polish poet has earned a large international following. Clear yet complex writing is another. Even a cliched subject becomes compelling in the hands of this Nobel Prize winner. In "Clouds" she writes:

Their trademark: they don't repeat a single shape, shade, pose, arrangement. Unburdened by memory of any kind, they float easily over the facts. What on earth could they bear witness to? They scatter whenever something happens. Compared to clouds, life rests on solid ground, practically permanent, almost eternal.

Perhaps the depth of Szymborska's poems allows her to maintain a consistent approach. Rather than change her style, as many poets do over time, she explores different perspectives. In "Monologue" she writes from a dog's point of view, and then from that of a woman who is dreaming. She even explores the nature of the soul, claiming it's something of a gypsy:

No one's got it nonstop, for keeps. Day after day, year after year may pass without it. Sometimes it will settle for a while only in childhood's fears and raptures.

"Monologue" is a slim volume, yet the poems are so rich that readers will feel they've traversed a great landscape.

Jane Hirshfield takes readers on a long journey as well, but where Szymborska's work makes great imaginative leaps, Hirshfield's is more analytical. She uses imagery as a springboard to explore a mental landscape. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Fascinating Journey with Two Women Poets ; Szymborska's Work Makes Imaginative Leaps, While Hirshfield's Is Analytical
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.