Anna Świrszczyńska (also known as Anna Swir) (1909–1984) was a Polish poet whose works deal with themes including her experiences during World War II, motherhood, the female body, and sensuality.
Świrszczyńska was born in Warsaw and grew up in poverty as the daughter of an artist. She began publishing her poems in the 1930s. During the Nazi occupation of Poland she joined the Polish resistance movement in World War II and was a military nurse during the Warsaw Uprising. She wrote for underground publications and once waited 60 minutes to be executed. Czesław Miłosz writes of knowing her during this time and has translated a volume of her work. Her experiences during the war strongly influenced her poetry. In 1974 she published Building the Barricade, a volume which describes the suffering she witnessed and experienced during that time. She also writes frankly about the female body in various stages of life.
- Wiersze i proza (Poems and Prose) (1936)
- Liryki zebrane (Collected Poems) (1958)
- Czarne słowa (Black Words) (1967)
- Wiatr (Wind) (1970)
- Jestem baba (I am a Woman) (1972)
- Poezje wybrane (Selected Poems) (1973)
- Budowałam barykadę (Building the Barricade) (1974)
- Szczęśliwa jak psi ogon (Happy as a Dog's Tail) (1978)
- Cierpienie i radość (Suffering and Joy) (1985)
Collections in English translation
- Thirty-four Poems on the Warsaw Uprising (1977), New York. Transl.: Magnus Jan Kryński, Robert A. Maguire.
- Building the Barricade (1979), Kraków. Transl.: Magnus Jan Kryński, Robert A. Maguire.
- Happy as a Dog's Tail (1985), San Diego. Transl.: Czesław Miłosz & Leonard Nathan.
- Fat Like the Sun (1986), London. Transl.: M. Marshment, G. Baran.
- Talking to My Body (Copper Canyon Press, 1996) Transl.: Czesław Miłosz & Leonard Nathan.
- Building the Barricade and Other Poems of Anna Swir Tr. by Piotr Florczyk (Calypso Editions, 2011).
You will not tame this sea
either by humility or rapture.
But you can laugh
in its face.
- Miłosz, Czesław – Jakiegoż to gościa mieliśmy : o Annie Świrszczyńskiej (1996), Kraków "Znak"
- Ingbrant, Renata -- From Her Point of View: Woman’s Anti-world in the Poetry of Anna Świrszczyńska (2007), Stockholm: Stockholm University "Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis"
- Stawowy, Renata – Gdzie jestem ja sama : o poezji Anny Świrszczyńskiej (2004), Kraków "Universitas"
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