12. 02. 2008. 12:24

Polishing October: poems by George Gömöri

A new selection in English

A volume of poems in English by George Gömöri, a Hungarian poet and essayist living in London, was launched in Darwin College, Cambridge on November 23 and in the Hungarian Cultural Centre, London on November 25. The poems were translated by the author and Clive Wilmer and published by Shoestring Press, Nottingham.

George Gömöri, born in Budapest in 1934, was a student of Polish and Hungarian at the university when the 1956 Revolution broke out. Having taken an active part in the Revolution, he was forced to flee the country. He settled in England, and, after graduating at Oxford, taught Hungarian and Polish literature at the University of Cambridge for over thirty years.
 
Gömöri has eleven volumes of poetry in Hungarian and one in Polish to his name. This is his second collection in English; the first one, My Manifold City, was published by Alba Press in 1996.
 
Gömöri has been working with poet Clive Wilmer for years. Their joint translation of poetry by Miklós Radnóti and György Petri have been published in book form, and they have also published numerous translations (e.g. of poems by János Pilinszky and Sándor Márai) in various literary magazines. Gömöri has also edited an anthology of modern Hungarian poetry, The Colonnade of Teeth (Bloodaxe, 1997) with George Szirtes.
 
"George Gömöri's lyric poetry is a mix of passion and irony, the irony itself always informed by passion. His political poems learn their lessons from a history where the small get their heads kicked in by the great who use them for footballs. There is a certain wry comedy involved in the process but the stakes are high: defeat and exile are for real, as is the pain." (George Szirtes)

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