How to Start Writing (and When to Stop): Advice for Writers


Product Details

$17.95  $16.69
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.8 X 0.39 inches | 0.3 pounds

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About the Author

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wislawa Szymborska, "is unquestionably one of the great living European poets. She's accessible and deeply human and a joy--though it is a dark kind of joy--to read. She is a poet to live with" (Robert Hass).
Winner of the NBCC in criticism, Clare Cavanagh is the Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University. Her translations include Wislawa Szymborska's Map: Collected and Last Poems, with Stanislaw Baranczak, and Adam Zagajewski's Slight Exaggeration.


More than any poet I can think of, Szymborska not only wants to create a poetic state in her readers, but also to tell them things they didn't know before or never got around to thinking about.--Charles Simic
No reader, not even poetry-phobes, should miss the bright revelations of Nobel laureate Szymborska.-- "Booklist"
Szymborska's poetry had the gift of creating both the happiness of wisdom felt and the ecstatic happiness of the particulars of life fully imagined. From the experience of armies and dogmas and death that shaped her early life, she found a new commitment to the belief that the poetic impulse, however small its objects, is always saner than the polemical imperative, however passionate its certitudes.--Adam Gopnik "The New Yorker"
Wit, wisdom and warmth are equally important ingredients in the mixture of qualities that makes her so unusual and every poem of hers so unforgettable. We love her poetry because we instinctively feel that its author genuinely (though by no means uncritically) loves us.--Stanislaw Baranczak "New York Times"
Glorious distillations of a capacious mind and heart.-- "Kirkus"
A delightful collection of literary ephemera.-- "Publishers Weekly"
Her responses may seem harsh, but her criticisms are veiled insights, and her insights unveil depths.-- "Minor Literatures"
Endlessly witty.--Paula Erizanu "Calvert Journal"
Szymborska's assessments are refreshing to anyone who has gone through a writer's "education" at American colleges and universities.--Josh Christensen "First Things"
Szymborska's skepticism, her merry, mischievous irreverence and her thirst for the surprise of fresh perception make her the enemy of all tyrannical certainties. Hers is the best of the Western mind -- free, restless, questioning, in every way the opposite.--Richard Lourie "New York Times Book Review"
Rarely do we get the details of what happened to these women in the Donbas; Belorusets smartly conveys the invisibility of their trauma by making it likewise invisible to readers....In these spellbinding stories, Belorusets is more interested in effect than cause. What's the use of finding out how we got here when we know we'll be back again?--Jennifer Wilson "The New York Times"
These are tales, mostly about women, in which the stressful reality of living under the weight of an ongoing conflict mingles with magic.--Gal Beckerman "The Atlantic"
Published in Ukraine in 2018, these surreal short stories by a noted photographer probe the experiences of women from the Donbas region, many of whom fled the separatist conflict that erupted in 2014 and now live as refugees in Kyiv. The stories, ethnographic in perspective but Gogolian in register, gravitate toward inexplicable disappearances, repressed memories, and phantasmagoria. Belorusets writes of "the deep penetration of traumatic historical events into the fantasies . . . of everyday life" and richly evokes the fatalistic humor of her marginalized characters, one of whom observes, "If you had the luck to be born here, you take things as they come."-- "The New Yorker"