Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012) . . . Not "hopelessly unphotogenic.”
The phrase at the end of the post title is from a description of the slow, solitary, quite work poets do that Wisława Szymborska offers in her Nobel Lecture. The portrait I've lifted here makes clear that the description hardly is true of the poet herself.
In November, drummer Paul Motian, perhaps my favorite musician, died. At the time I wrote that was difficult to express my admiration for the man or how much I owed to his music. Today Szymborska, another person in much the same category as Motian, died of cancer. You can find an obituary here at The New York Times.
Once again my debt is immense. Once again, words escape me. Some readers may know that my email address is zerosonetheloose. That is a compressed phrase from one of Szymborska's poems - "Possibilities" - the final lines of which have gotten me by on many days over the past half-decade. I never met Szymborska and regret having never had the chance.
P.S. (2 March 2012): I just came across these reflections on Szymborska by Katha Pollitt at The Nation.