Poetry. Translated from the Hungarian by Agnes Walder. Exuberant and witty, poignant and severe, trenchant yet lighthearted, 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.
"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
"Why might we want to read these poems from a young poet of the 1930s in Europe? Firstly, we have a chance to hear the voice of a poet apparently too dangerously outspoken to be allowed to be heard in his lifetime ... But most importantly, Lajos Walder's poetry, modern and urgent, committed to its craft, written against its own times, composed on the run, touched by personal and larger histories, is an example of the white-hot way poetry can emerge from a life. This is an exciting book to read." —Kevin Brophy, Text
"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, Austrlalia
"[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
"Enough cannot be said regarding Lajos Walder's free verse of beauty, clarity, and precision. His poetry sings its message through his ideas, imagery, frankness, and humanity ... I find it unbelievable that I had never heard of this great, timeless poet. Lajos Walder's poetry elevates our minds, lifts our hearts, and awakens our humanity. He speaks to us as if he were our contemporary. Thank goodness we have these 100 poems that pour into our being ... life-giving, life-affirming ... becoming part of us. Here is a book to be cherished and read again and again ..." —Benjamin Franklin Book Award Citation
"Here, in this poet we see worlds ravel and unravel. Passionate, exuberant, comic, tragic. Playful and serious. The mind moves in many voices, is intelligent, and seeing. The pages leap with life, fire, desire. A truly talented poet at work. The reader cannot but be infected and transformed by the poet's world, revelations and depth." —Benjamin Franklin Book Award Citation
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.
Author City: BUDAPEST HUN