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Hungarian Poets of the Post 1989 Generation

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New Order by Istvan Kemeny
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This first major gathering of the younger poets of Hungary witnesses to the poetics of a new post-1989 Europe. The poetics are still in the making but important poets appear and develop. They are writers whose mature work has been produced in the new social, psychological and political circumstances. They include major women poets such as Anna T. Szabo, and Krisztina Toth as well as highly acclaimed figures like Janos Terey and Andras Gerevich. The translators are chiefly poets of the same generation - Owen Sheers, Antony Dunn, Clare Pollard, Matthew Hollis and Agnes Lehoczky, whose work sits alongside writers long associated with the translation of Hungarian poetry: George Gomori, Clive Wilmer, Peter Zollman and the editor, George Szirtes.

Author Biography

(AUTHORS) ISTVAN KEMENY entered university to study law, but switched to Hungarian literature and history, graduating in these subjects in 1993. In his early poetry collections he continued the prevailing trends of decadence and symbolism. He won two literary prizes while still in his twenties. Kemeny also writes short prose pieces in which he addresses moral questions in a sober style: human indifference, environmental pollution, God's thoughts about the world. The early volumes of Kemeny's poetry caused a positive explosion on the literary scene and particularly in the universities. His titles are revealing: Circular Staircase to the Forgotten Departments (1984), Playing with Poisons and Anti-Poisons (1987), The Art of the Enemy (a novella, 1989) and Themes from the Film Rococo (short stories, 1991). His poetic and prose forms revealed a need for a kind of classicism and, for a while, a new type of symbolism and sensibility. In his poems Kemeny repeatedly makes us face up to the fragility of everyday language. SZILARD BORBELY was born in the east of Hungary in 1964, and has won a series of major literary awards for his work, including the Palladium Prize (2005). It was his third book of poems, Long Day Away (1993) that drew the attention of celebrated writers such as Peter Esterhazy and Peter Nadas. His next The Splendours of Death (2004) was recognised as one of the most important Hungarian books of the decade. All the poems here are taken from his 2003 book Berlin-Hamlet, a single work comprised of Allegories, Fragments, Letters, and poems based on specific locations in Berlin. ANDRAS IMREH was born in Budapest in 1966 where he still lives. After working as a language teacher and living in Mexico for a year he is now a free-lance poet and translator. He translates poetry from English, French and Spanish including the work of Robert Frost, W. B. Yeats, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney, Shakespeare and J. L. Borges among others. His own books of poetry include That Which Has Two Names (Hungarian), Cancion de cuna (Spanish) and Salut poetes (French): at the time of writing, he is completing his new book, Strange Love. His poems have been translated into several languages and he has received a number of literary awards for his poetry and translations, including the Jozsef Attila, the Vas Istvan and the Graves awards. He works as editor of Nagyvilag (Big World) literary magazine which publishes contemporary literature translated into Hungarian. He gives classes on poetry and translation and has recently started publishing essays. MONIKA MESTERHAZI was born in 1967 and has a PhD in Modern English Literature. She works as a teacher of English and Hungarian and has extensive translation experience, having translated poetry by, among others, Simon Armitage, Elizabeth Bishop and Seamus Heaney, radio plays, fiction and non-fiction. She has published three volumes of poetry in Hungary and is published in the UK in the Winter 03 issue of Poetry Wales. KRISZTINA TOTH is one of the most highly-acclaimed Hungarian poets. She is the winner of several awards, including the Graves Prize (1996), Dery Tibor Prize (1996), Jozsef Attila Prize (2000) and her poetry has been translated into many languages. Her poems have strong connections with different Hungarian and European poetic traditions (she translates French poetry), their trademark being a subtle combination of strong visual elements, intellectual reflection and a very empathic, yet often ironic concern for everyday scenes, conflicts and people. Since the publication of her first collection of short stories in 2006 she has been listed amongst the best contemporary writers of Central Europe. Krisztina Toth lives in Budapest where, apart from writing and translating poetry, she designs and produces stained glass windows. She was recently awarded the Laureate Prize, one of the highest recognitions in Hungarian literature. VIRAG ERDOS was born in Budapest in 1968. She writes poems, short stories and plays. Her poetry books include: Courtyards (1993), Inner Courtyard (1998), Good To Be Alive (2000), Tales Told Otherwise (2003) and Euridice (2007). Her most recent work for the theatre, A merenylet (Act of Terror) was published in 2008. JANOS TEREY was born in Debrecen, Hungary's second city, in 1970. Poet, dramatist, novelist and literary translator, he has won many Hungarian literary awards, including the prestigious Attila Jozsef Prize for poetry and the Aegon Prize for outstanding drama. His most important publications to date are The Dispersion (1991), The Natural Arrogance (1993), The Real Warsaw, Complaints Book (1995), Possessors' Aspect (1997), Termann's Traditions (1997), Paulus (2001) and The Nibelung Subdivision (2004). ISTVAN LASZLO GEHER (pen name: G. Istvan Laszlo), was born in 1972 and is a poet and translator, working as an Associate Professor of English at the Department of Comparative Literature at the Karoli G. University, Budapest. He holds degrees in Hungarian and English Literature from L. Eotvos University in Budapest. He was a member of the Cambridge Writer's Conference, 1999, the International Writing Programme in Iowa, 2007 and the International Writers Workshop in Hong Kong, 2008. In 2008 he gained a three months' scholarship in Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, as a Fellow Writer. His selected poems are to be published in a German-Hungarian bilingual edition in autumn 2009. He has written six books of poetry, most recently Fugue of Sand (2008). His translations of Plath, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Hughes and Yeats have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. His awards include a fellowship to the International Writers' House in Rhodes, The Moricz Grant, an NKA Literary Grant, The Babits Grant for Translation, the Radnoti and the Zelk awards for Poetry. ANNA T SZABO, poet, writer and translator was born in Transylvania (Romania) in 1972 and moved to Hungary in 1987. She studied English and Hungarian literature at the University of Budapest and received her PhD in English Renaissance literature in 2007. She was 23 when her first volume of poetry appeared, and received the Petofi Prize (1996), founded for promising young poets. She has since published four more volumes of poetry and has received several literary prizes. She has translated many poems and lyrics, essays, novels, drama, radio plays and librettos, and writes essays, newspaper articles and reviews. She also worked for the British Council as a co-leader of a translators' workshop in Budapest (2000-2004), as the co-editor of the homepage of the Hungarian Book Foundation and as a film critic and translator for the journal Cinema (1997-2007). She is currently the poetry editor of the literary journal The Hungarian Quarterly which publishes Hungarian literature and essays in English. TAMAS JONAS was born to a Roma family in the derelict city of Ozd in Northern Hungary, a dinosaur of the forced industrialisation of the socialistA" Hungary of the '50s. Of his childhood, he wrote an autobiographical work entitled Gypsy Times (1997), published in German with the title Als ich noch Zigeuner war. The first part of this book is a diary in which the 21-year-old poet tells the story of the 4-year-old child who finds himself in an institute after his parents are taken to debtors' prison. Today Jonas lives in Budapest with his wife and two sons. ORSOLYA KARAFIATH is an established voice in the newest generation of Hungarian poets. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications in Hungary, from literary journals to newspapers; in her own collection, The Secret Song of Lotte Lenya; and in translation in The Hungarian Quarterly and Modern Poetry in Translation. Karafiath's arts journalism appears online, in print and she is often seen on television. She lives in Budapest, where she sometimes performs with her noise band, Elektrik BUGI Kommando. ANDRAS GEREVICH was born in Budapest in 1976. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the Eotvos University of Budapest (ELTE), and later studied Creative Writing at Dartmouth College, USA , on a Fulbright Scholarship. His third degree is in Screenwriting from the National Film and Television School in Britain. Now working on his third volume of poems, he has been widely published in Hungarian journals and has also been translated into several languages. He is currently the President of the Jozsef Attila Circle (JAK), the association of young Hungarian writers. He is also the poetry editor of Kalligram, a Hungarian literary monthly, and commissioning editor for Chroma, the London-based literary and arts journal. He has scripted several prize-winning short films produced in London. He has also translated a number of English-speaking poets into Hungarian, including Seamus Heaney. (TRANSLATORS) RICHARD BERENGARTEN (previously known as Richard Burns) has published more than 25 books and his poems have been translated into 30 languages. His latest books are For the Living, The Manager, The Blue Butterfly, In a Time of Drought, and Under Balkan Light (Salt, 2008). He is currently working on a new collection of short poems about hands, entitled Manual. THOMAS COOPER was born in 1971 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After completing his doctorate in comparative literature at Indiana University he taught for two years at the University of North Carolina before accepting positions as research fellow at Columbia University and the University of Vienna. He currently lives in Budapest and teaches at the Karoly Eszterhazy College in Eger. He has translated poetry and prose by numerous Hungarian authors, including Zsuzsa Rakovszky, Endre Kukorelly, Zsofia Balla, Laszlo Garaczi, Laszlo Marton, Lajos Parti Nagy, Zsuzsa Takacs, Tibor Zalan, and Pal Zavada. ANTONY DUNN was born in London in 1973. He won the Newdigate Prize in 1995 and received a Society of Authors' Eric Gregory Award in 2000. He has published two collections of poems, Pilots and Navigators (Oxford Poets, 1998) and Flying Fish (Carcanet Oxford Poets 2002). He has worked on a number of translation projects with poets from Holland, Hungary, China and Israel, and was Poet in Residence at the University of York for 2006. He also writes for the theatre and his plays include Dog Blue, Goose Chase and Shepherds' Delight. GEORGE GOMORI is a Hungarian-born prize-winning poet and academic. He has been living in England since 1956 and taught Polish and Hungarian at the University of Cambridge until 2001. He is the author and translator of several books, the latest of which is the poetry collection Polishing October (Shoestring Press, 2008). DAVID HILL's latest poetry collection is Consumed (KenArnoldBooks, 2008). His poetry translations have appeared in The Independent, Modern Poetry In Translation and The Times Literary Supplement. He has translated lyrics for English recordings by the Hungarian band Little Cow. He also works in journalism. His website is MATTHEW HOLLIS works as a poetry editor. His collection Ground Water (Bloodaxe, 2004) was short-listed for the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, the Guardian First Book Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He is co-editor of 101 Poems Against War (Faber, 2003) and Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (Bloodaxe, 2000). AGNES LEHOCZKY was born in 1976 in Budapest. Station X (2000) and Medallion (2002), her first two short collections, were published in Budapest by Universitas. She was awarded an MA in Creative Writing from UEA in 2006. Her first book in English, Budapest to Babel, was published by Egg Box Publishing in October 2008. She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. OTTILIE MULZET has been translating Hungarian literature since the mid-1990s, when her translations of the work of Frigyes Karinthy and Dezso Kosztolanyi appeared in American literary journals. For several years, she was the English-language editor of the internet journal of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Prague, Her most recent publication is the English translation of Berlin-Hamlet by Szilard Borbely. Her translation of Lazarus by Gabor Schein is forthcoming from Triton Press, Prague, in 2010. She translates regularly for Hungarian Literature Online and writes criticism as well. CLARE POLLARD has published three collections with Bloodaxe, the most recent of which is Look, Clare! Look! (2005). Her play The Weather was given its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre. Clare is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Essex University, and is co-editing Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe, 2009). OWEN SHEERS was born in Fiji in 1974 and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. He was educated at King Henry VIII Comprehensive School, Abergavenny and New College, Oxford. The winner of an Eric Gregory Award and the 1999 Vogue Young Writer's Award, his first collection of poetry, The Blue Book (Seren, 2000), was short-listed for the Welsh Book of the Year and the Forward Prize Best First Collection 2001. His debut prose work, The Dust Diaries (Faber 2004), a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize and won the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. GEORGE SZIRTES is the author of fourteen volume of poems and roughly the same number of translations of Hungarian prose and poetry. His books have been awarded The Faber Prize, the Cholmondeley Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize. His New and Collected Poems were published by Bloodaxe in 2008. He has won various prizes for his translations and has co-edited a number of anthologies of both English and Hungarian writing. CHRISTOPHER WHYTE was born in Glasgow in 1952. He lived in Italy between 1973 and 1985 and taught Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow from 1990 to 2005. He is now based in Budapest and writes full-time. Two of his four novels in English won Scottish Arts Council awards. His third and fourth collections of poems in Gaelic are published this year. See CLIVE WILMER is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. His most recent book of poetry in English is The Mystery of Things (Carcanet, 2006). Vegtelen valtozatok, a selection of his poems translated into Hungarian by George Gomori and Anna T. Szabo, was published by JATE Press, Szeged, in 2002. With George Gomori he has translated some twenty Hungarian poets into English, including two books each by Miklos Radnoti and Gyorgy Petri. He was awarded the Endre Ady Memorial Medal for Translation in 1998 and the Pro Cultura Hungarica Medal in 2005. PETER ZOLLMAN was born in Budapest in 1931. He has won the Times Stephen Spender Prize (2007), the Milan Fust Prize (1999) and was short-listed twice for the Weidenfeld Prize. His volume of Attila Jozsef translations (Maecenas, Abbey Press) was selected as Best Book of the Year by Seamus Heaney (TLS, 2005). He has published 12 volumes of poetry and verse drama translations and appeared in numerous poetry anthologies and magazines.
Release date Australia
March 1st, 2010
Edited by George Szirtes Translated by Agnes Lehoczky Translated by Clare Pollard Translated by George Szirtes
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Arc Publications
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