My professor recommended I read this collection after I expressed an interest in Milosz’s work and a specific admiration of his style. Reading “Miracle Fair” was like an exploration of the self. I felt myself get lost in tiny cracks and crevices within and after reemerging there was a certain feeling of lightness and delight. I only wish that one day my own writing can be as honest and wispy as Szymborska’s.
In comparison to Milosz, I felt Szymborska had a lighter step to her writing, the words guiding the reader along effortlessly while still pointing out moments of shock or irony without making it outright. And the imagery – oh the imagery. It was by far the best part of the collection.One of the memorable poems from this collection, “Drinking Wine”, was simply full of them. There was a whole stanza I mauled over and lost myself in:
I tell him what he wants to hear – about ants / dying of love / under a dandelion’s constellation. / I swear that sprinkled with wine / a white rose will sing.
There was a dreamy quality throughout most of the poems yet they were, for lack of a better word, sophisticated in their use of it. It was incorporated seamlessly and an entire world was constructed around these images, yet they managed to retain their uniqueness and wonder. Particular attention should be paid to the section “I knock at the door of the rock”, where the poems “Seen from Above” and “The Silence of Plants” deserve to be the topic of lengthy midnight discussions between lovers or just groups of friends. Here, the imagery emphasized the topics of death and identity in a way that offers new ideas and angles.
This is a beautiful collection, a perfect balance of style and topic, both light and heavy, but an overall delight.