The Story Behind “Layers” by Lita Kurth

LitaGoodPhotoToday’s post is written by Lita Kurth. We published her poem “Layers” in our Spring 2017 issue. 

In 1996, the year she won the Nobel Prize, I found Wislawa Szymborska’s “Some Like Poetry” on the Xerox machine at the university where I worked. Captivated, I promptly used it in my Composition classes to illustrate how the simplest of pronouncements could become individual and complex when one thinks deeply and spells out how one interprets each word.

Later, in another journal (that I can’t find now), I saw the poem that inspired “Layers” with its self-referential items. Just now I looked up Szymborska’s bio on Wikipedia and found we had some things in common and some not. In her early, perhaps unthinking or not-very-knowledgeable idealism, I see some of my own early dogmatic idealism. I like to think we also both have a sense of humor. However, we definitely split on this next issue: “When asked why she had published so few poems, she said, ‘I have a trash can in my home.’”

I do, too, but I don’t use it.

About the Author

Wisconsin-born Lita Kurth, California-ized over the years, teaches writing formally, informally, and inadvertently. Watch for her DIY online classes on Facebook! Published in three genres and many litmags, she has had two works nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won a 2014 Diana Woods Memorial Prize from Lunchticket. In 2013, she co-founded San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum. She writes or has written for TikkunDaily,,, and San Jose’s Metro.

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