Herbert was more or less my contemporary, though he’s dead now. He was writing as a poet during the Communist regime in Poland. He was not only a great and esteemed poet, but a fierce anti-Communist. He didn’t make concessions; he had no use for Ketman and so forth—so relations between Herbert and Milosz were always rather cool. He was one of the few writers in Poland who was, shall we say, Conradian in his refusal to compromise with the regime. He was a very great poet. As much as I like Szymborska personally—she’s an extremely nice woman—I was very sorry that she, rather than Herbert, got the Nobel prize.
Gustav Herling, in Paris Review, n.º156, Outono de 2000