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Anna Swir was the pen name of Anna Świrszczyńska, born in Warsaw, Poland, to an artistic, impoverished family. She went to work at an early age, and supported herself through university, where she studied medieval Polish literature. In the 1930s, she worked for a teachers’ association, served as an editor, and began publishing her poetry in 1936. During World War II, she joined the Polish Resistance against the Nazis and served as a military nurse during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Besides poetry, she wrote plays and stories for children and directed a children’s theater. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and have been collected in English translation in Building the Barricade (1974), Thirty-four Poems on the Warsaw Uprising (1977), Happy as a Dog’s Tail (1985), Fat Like the Sun (1986), Talking to My Body (1996), and Building the Barricade and Other Poems of Anna Swir (2011). Several of her works were translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan.
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