To Pal-Zet, from Skarżysko-Kam.
After reading the enclosed verses we conclude that you don't sense the fundamental difference between poetry and prose. The poem entitled "Here," for instance, offers a modest prose description of a room and the furniture it holds. In prose, such descriptions serve a strict defined purpose: they provide the backdrop against which the action will take place. At any moment the door will open, someone will enter, something will happen. In poetry, the description itself must happen. Everything is important, meaningful: the choice of images, their placement, and the shape they take in words. The description of an ordinary room becomes a discovery of that room before our eyes, the emotion accompanying that discovery becomes our own. The prose writer slices sentences into lines with infinite care - but his prose stays prose. Worse still - nothing happens.
- Wisława Szymborska, replying to the "Literary Mailbox" in Literary Life magazine. As collected in her book How to Start Writing (and When to Stop): Advice for Authors.