When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.
By Wislawa Szymborska
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996
Born: 2 July 1923, Bnin (now Kórnik), Poland
Died: 1 February 2012, Kraków, Poland
Residence at the time of the award: Poland
Prize motivation: “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.”
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