Saturday, September 24, 2011

Last Poems of Miklós Radnóti

Miklós Radnóti

I woke up thinking about Miklós Radnóti again this morning.  This happens every so often, though not as much as when I was completing my thesis on his last poems; his work has apparently seared itself into my psyche, and I guess there will always be a connection there.  Anyway, Miklós Radnóti, a Hungarian poet and translator, is considered to be one of the most important 20th-century poets of his country.  Radnóti was killed at the age of thirty-five on a forced march during World War II.  After the war, his last poems, written in a notebook during the march, were discovered on his body when he was exhumed from a mass grave near Abda, Hungary.  Here's an excerpt from "Eclogue VII", translated by Steven Polgár:
Without commas, one line touching the other
I write poems the way I live, in darkness,
blind, crossing the paper like a worm.
Flashlights, books - the guards took everything.
There’s no mail, only fog drifts over the barracks.
Haunting stuff, for sure.  You can read the rest of Radnóti's bio here:

Or, if you're interested, here's a link to my Master’s thesis, that I completed at Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2007, analyzing the last poems:


Radnóti’s work has touched me more deeply than perhaps any other.  One day, I will make the journey to pay my respects at his grave in Budapest. 

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