"These poems, inspired by paintings, are in no way interpretations of paintings. They are, rather, interpretations of existence, like the poem about Boudin. Nothing happens; the wind lifts a scarf, that sort of thing. But in the meantime there is a whole drama about the meaning of life. How free are we? To what extent are the unhappy guilty?" (Extract from an interview with Péter Kántor)
It’s not a bad idea for a man to get admitted to hospital a couple of
days before a revolution breaks out, stay in until it’s been quashed and
recuperate quietly at home during the ensuing purge. This way, fate
saves him from making bad decisions at critical moments. In fact, it
prevents him from making any kind of decisions at all...
The Word becomes mortal and vulnerable when it is made flesh. The poem
stutters when it talks about body. Through individual stories of
suffering and philosophical odes, Szilárd Borbély’s volume, To the Body, tests the divine and the poetic word against the human experience of existing in a body.
Sándor Tar's prose is considered by the many as the best depiction of
the human cost of the years just following the change in regime of 1989.
His best known collection of short stories which most critics and
readers consider a novel, Our Street (1995), presents the lives of people living in a street at the far end of a small town.
It’s marvellous fun going around in a foreign country if voices are merely sounds which leave us cold and we stare blankly at everyone that speaks to us. What splendid isolation, my friends, what independence, what lack of responsibility... We start to display an inexplicable trust in adults wiser than ourselves. We let them speak and act on our behalf. Then we accept everything, unseen and unheard.
Katie Brandenburg, university student in the Department of German, dreamt one evening that Antal Mádl, the Head of Department, in her Finals had asked her what was the colour of Thomas Mann's horse. No more than three days were left until the exam so that she really needed to knuckle down to elucidating the answer to this important question.
I can’t live beyond its borders any more. / Bullet-holes in the houses' walls, / my grandfather’s blood, my grandmother’s fleeing / perhaps burnt into the bricks themselves, / just like my guts in the air-raid shelter’s depths, / shrieking sirens, the fear of death.