István Baka

István Baka (1948 - 1995)

Born in the small provincial town of Szekszárd, Baka attended the University of Szeged graduating with a degree in Hungarian and Russian Language and Literature. Baka's poetry and prose works are characterized by an artistic system of images that unite reality with the rich world of his imagination, symbols frequently placed in a framework of millennial myths. His poetry shows great affinity with modern Russian poets, many of whom he translated into Hungarian. He is regarded today as one of the 20 th century's truly outstanding, major, original voices. Premature death prevented him from occupying the place he deserved in the memory of the Hungarian public. He was awarded the Graves Prize in 1985, the Attila József Prize in 1989, the Sándor Weöres Award in 1992, and the Tibor Déry Award in 1993. His volumes include The Magdalene Downpour (Magdolna zápor), (1975), The Gospel Thrown into the Flames (Tuzbe vetett evangélium), (1981), Döbling, (1985), On the Cross Hair of the Compass (Égtájak célkeresztjén), (1990), The Hour of Wolves (Farkasok órája), (1992), The Testament of Styepan Pehotny (Sztyepan Pehotnij testamentuma), (1994). Dániel Varró (1977-)

The youngest poet of this collection is a native of Budapest. He is now a pupil of the University of Budapest at the faculty of Hungarian and English Literature. He had earned his first poetical success already at the age of twelve with an epic trilogy Bunny, Bunny(tm)s Love and Bunny(tm)s Evening alluding to the famous trilogy of János Arany: Toldi, Toldi(tm) s Love and Toldi(tm)s Evening.

At sixteen he started to publish in the most known literary magazines where his poems where praised for their masterly use of rhyme, rhythm and wordcraft. His first volume of poetry Pot Azure (Bögre azúr) which appeared in 1997 was such a success, that unusual in this field a new edition had to be published.

in memoriam Sergei Rachmaninov

Trains stand there stranded on the silent dark
tracks stationary sooty-smelling blind
and in its moon-epauletted cloak
of clouds upswells the wind the Baltic wind

Like icicles from darkest hell so rises
the evening skyline of your obelisks
oh city stabbed by future’s sharp incisors
you split
like swing-bridge in the midnight mist

Trains stand there stranded on the lonely silent
tracks and the winter’s epileptic froth
invades the points’ clenched teeth in a violent
vomiting spate
oh North white lady North

wound of the Neva cleft of Eve
you yield
inertly to the wind’s hard breathing beat
your frozen buttocks’ curve is half-revealed
through Winter’s blood-and-sperm-besplattered shee


Tristan I cannot go today because
A fever has attacked my little son
Our boy for almost surely he is yours
He cries and I must stay now dearest one

Tomorrow is Mark’s customary night
He takes a bath and sprays expensive scents
Should I neglect my duty then he might
Have further doubts about my innocence

Next day we’ll see the envoy of the king
Of Burgundy it’s whispered that he bears
A matchless ruby as an offering
I must be careful with foreign affairs

In three days time we’ll give a ball we must
Receive the Cornish aristocracy
- Those decked-out wives - then hiding my disgust
I’ll take their homage with due courtesy

I cannot go I’m busy as you see
But heaven knows your wound torments me too
I’ll fly to you as soon as I am free
And then my darling I will die with y


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