When Wislawa Szymborksa's View with a Grain of Sand, also translated by Stanislaw Baraczak and Clare Cavanagh, was published shortly after its author's award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996, the Polish poet, hitherto all but unknown outside her own country, became an international name. More than 10,000 copies of the book have been sold in Britain alone.
Yet it was not so much the fame of the prize, as the directness, vigour, wit and honesty with which Szymborska herself writes - qualities deftly captured by her translators - that brought this about. Transcending national and generational boundaries with her rare combination of moral wisdom and down-to-earth manner of speaking to us, she is unquestionably one of the great poetic spirits of the age. Poems New and Collected adds sixty-four new translations to the text of View with a Grain of Sand and includes, as preface, its author's Nobel Prize acceptance speech.