Become a Message: Poems (Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry 2016)

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9781935830306: Become a Message: Poems (Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry 2016)

Arguably the most significant modern Hungarian poet, Lajos Walder was born in 1913 and died in 1945 in the Gunskirchen concentration camp, on the day it was liberated by the Allied forces. Exuberant and witty, poignant and severe, trenchant yet light-hearted, Lajos Walder's poems cut to the quick and stay with you. Reading them is like reliving an era long gone and, at the same time, learning to see our own world with new eyes. For Lajos Walder's "message" speaks to us as directly today as it did to his contemporaries almost a century ago: "... that apart from thieves and murderers // there are also human beings." For the first time, Lajos Walder's complete extant poetry is made available in English, superbly translated by the poet's daughter Agnes Walder, who also provides a beautiful afterword, and with a passionate foreword by Scots fellow poet Don Paterson.

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About the Author:

LAJOS WALDER is considered to be one of the most significant modern Hungarian poets. Born in Budapest in 1913, he died in May, 1945, shortly after walking through the opened gates of the liberated concentration camp of Gunskirchen. Under the pseudonym Vándor - meaning wanderer - he published two volumes of poetry during his short life: HEADS OR TAILS (1933) and GROUP PORTRAIT (1938). His substantial poetic legacy of unpublished manuscripts was saved from the Nazis by his family, who emigrated to Australia in 1957, and is now appearing for the first time in its entirety in English translation.

Review:

"Walder (1913–1945) might be a little-known mid-20th century Hungarian poet, but that has little to do with his talent ... Nothing is too big or too small to be noticed, and this transcendence of self allows Walder to make grand gestures without sounding archaic or pompous ... Walder endows smallness with heavy meaning, propelling the poems forward and giving them heft ..." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Lajos Walder has neither ancestor nor partner in Hungarian literature. He is a poet, without a doubt a lyricist through and through, yet one whose every line and every poetic breath is pure heresy, pure rebellion against accustomed forms of poetry. --Gábor Thurzó

Lajos Walder was the most credible voice to express the times between the two world wars. Without this artist s entirely individualistic voice, the overall picture of that period is incomplete. --Géza Hegedüs

Rarely have I been smitten by a poet, but in Lajos Walder (1913-1945) I have been swept off my feet. His poems, translated by his daughter, Agnes Walder, capture the art of a rare mind, who surveyed his times with an awareness as dark as Franz Kafka s and a humour as light as Milan Kundera's ... A gift of poems, which I am certain will have a very long life in English. --Rachael Kohn, Australian Jewish News & ABC Radio National, Australia

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