Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation
While Hungarian music enjoys a high international reputation, Hungarian poetry is known only through the work of a few outstanding representatives such as Attila József, Miklós Radnóti, Sándor Weöres, János Pilinszky and Ágnes Nemes Nagy. Yet it is precisely their poetry that Hungarians treasure most, arguing that the isolation of the language has resulted in neglect of its writers.
This anthology aims to demonstrate the justice of this argument by presenting the work of the most important Hungarian poets born the turn of the century, starting with the major figure of Lorinc Szabó, born in 1900. Some of the poets included, such as György Faludy and Victor Határ, have worked mostly in exile; others, for example Sándor Kányádi, are members of Hungarian minorities living outside Hungary’s present borders. Those working in Hungary itself include the middle generation of Ottó Orbán and Zsusza Takács, and younger poets with international reputations such as György Petri, known for his sharp satires and ironic elegies, and Zsuzsa Rakovszky, with her passionate and closely observed poems of everyday life.
‘The Hungarians have a body of 20th-century poetry to rival any, and The Colonnade of Teeth, which runs from the early master Attila József to new poems from a generation born in the ﬁfties, makes a book any poetry lover would savour with delight. If there is a thread which links such disparate voices, it is the ability to rouse a sense of richness even when the world is harsh’ – Elaine Feinstein, Poetry Book Society Bulletin.
Currently unavailable: reprint under consideration.