The Nobelist’s Drawer

Wisława Szymborska was a Polish poet and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literarature This Kraków citizen was awarded for “poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”. Her work has been translated into English and many European languages, as well as into Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese. She was recognizable for her peculiar personality, her adoration to a famous Polish boxer Andrzej Gołota and a constatn company of a cigarette.

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One of her biggest fans was Woody Allen, who she appreciated as a director as well. When she found out about his sympathy, she sent him one of her famous collages, which was made from different press cuttings and cointained best wishes to the director. After her death in 2012, Allen said about how proud he was, that she knew about his existance and how much he admired her work.

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In one of the National Museum unit in Kraków you can see a small, lovely exhibition called Szymborska’s Drawer. It is situated on Plac Szczepański at the Szołayski House.

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The title of the exhibition is no accident; the Nobel laureate, known for her passion for collecting, believed drawers to be humankind’s finest invention.She had a passion for searching through flea markets and antique shops, and her friends brought her knick knacks collected around the world. the new permanent exhibition at the Museum holds furniture from Szymborska’s living room, where she held regular “lucky dips”, with objects from her collections given to friends as prizes. According to the poet’s wishes, the last meeting was held after her death, with her friends receiving memorabilia chosen at random. The Museum now also holds other trinkets, a few paintings, masks, and a part of her book collection. We’ll see photos she had of herself against signs with unusual place names – they used to hang on the wall of her flat’s hallway. Visitors are also able to learn about her writing process, from manuscript, through annotated typescript, to the final printed poems.Szymborska also read her own poetry beautifully – visitors to the exhibition are able to hear recordings on a special telephone.

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