“All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.” — Wislawa Szymborska

Have you ever heard of Wislawa Szymborska?  How about her Nobel Lecture on December 7, 1996?

She won the Nobel Prize in Literature 1996.  I haven’t read any of her works; but as I had mentioned in my previous speech-feature, I like speeches.  So, here’s to my second attempt to share cool speeches with you!

“The Poet and the World”

I fell in love with her speech, as I did with her candid honesty.  Any reader could catch the whiff of such truthfulness right at the very start, as her introduction went like this:

“They say the first sentence in any speech is always the hardest. Well, that one’s behind me, anyway. But I have a feeling that the sentences to come – the third, the sixth, the tenth, and so on, up to the final line – will be just as hard, since I’m supposed to talk about poetry. I’ve said very little on the subject, next to nothing, in fact. And whenever I have said anything, I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that I’m not very good at it. This is why my lecture will be rather short. All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.”

For those who aren’t fond of such speeches (or awarding ceremonies, in general) – I could imagine these ones sighing and grinning in what could only be interpreted as relief.

Such candid honesty renders one’s ears refreshed.  It creates a favorable forecast:

(a)    The lecturer, Szymborska, recognized the inherent struggles (like, staying focus) of her audience.  And she chose to address this right at the beginning and promises to deliver it that way all throughout the speech.


(b)   There is a thick tinge of wisdom.  The first paragraph already gives one a lot, which means that that the full length speech is worth of one’s time or one’s effort of staying put and listening.

Szymborska’s direct honesty also hovered in the kind of language she used, as well as, in the tone.  Such attribute ensures that she won’t be hitting around the bush: she will give her point, straight and certain.

Some interesting excerpts taken from her Nobel Lecture include this, too!

“The moment always came when poets had to close the doors behind them, strip off their mantles, fripperies, and other poetic paraphernalia, and confront – silently, patiently awaiting their own selves – the still white sheet of paper. For this is finally what really counts.”

And this one:

“But my answer is this: inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners – and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it.”

Inspiration, Challenges, Love and Imagination.  These keywords were stringed in one cohesive statement, just like a string of pearls in one grand neck-piece!

For the full text, just click this link!  And enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂





5 thoughts on ““All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.” — Wislawa Szymborska

    • Wow… Another nomination! 😀
      You know very well how to cheer fellow bloggers, don’t you?

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