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Praise for Peter Hargitai's translation of Attila J?zsef:
Praise for Peter Hargitai's translation of Attila József:
"These grim, bitter, iron-cold poems emerge technically strong, spare and authentic in English, and they are admirably contemporary in syntax."
in Citation for the Academy of American Poets
"A rich nuanced translation by Peter Hargitai. These poems are ageless, mirroring the human conditions and focusing in humankind's existential loneliness."
"I have long thought of Attila József as one of the great poets of the century, a tragic realist whose work beautifully redeemed the unbearable conditions of the life to which history condemned him. These new translations by Peter Hargitai will be welcomed by József's admirers and will certainly add to their number."
"[Other] translations of József's work are stiff and academic, whereas peter Hargitai's versions are colloquial and emotionally charged as the originals. Reading them one lapses into the silence that attends the reception of all great poetry."
Posted July 25, 2011
As a native Hungarian, I not only read Jozsef Attilla's poem but because as a child, I felt them,I memorized some oftem. Now,as a Linguist,fluent in many languages,I am prepelled back to my childhood feelings and JOY when I read Jozsef Atilla's poems in English. Author Hargitai's English translation of Jozsef Attilla's poem brings back the the Joy I got from the Hungarian translation of Shakespeare. Translation is a gift and Peter Hargitai has it. ImreWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2009
Selected Poems is a collection of a hundred poems written by Attila Jozsef. It was translated by Peter Hargitai into English because it was originally written in Hungarian. The translation Hargitai does is very similar to the original works Jozsef wrote. This book of poetry has different topics that many can relate to that deal with loneliness, love, death and anger. The poems are interesting to read because they vary in what they are about. Some are funny and comical and others are sad it depends on which you choose to read. Jozsef depicts in his poems that he truly admired his mother and really loved her. Therefore you can see the changes in poems when his mother dies. The poems tone changes to dark and gloomy. Due to Jozsef's mother's death he feels he is abandoned which is a feeling we often feel when a loved one has passed away. Jozsef's poems are filled with so much emotion that you really get a feel for everything he is saying and going through. The book is divided into five sections the last one mentions him committing suicide at age thirty two. These poems are different than any other ones I have read before in the sense that these are heartfelt and courageous for him to talk about the things he went through. I enjoyed the poems "Mamma" and "I May just Vanish". I recommend this book of poetry not only because I enjoyed reading it myself but because it gives you a good understanding about life and the imperfections it has.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I recently had to read this book for my class and I found it to be phenomenal. The way Hargitai captures the essence of Attila Jozsef's poems is one that only a scholar can achieve. Hargitai not only translates these poems but uses his connection with Jozsef's inner soul for an in depth look into what Jozsef truly feels. The way that Hargitai can relate with Jozsef's life experiences is unique in that one can only relate in such a way if he has experienced it himself. Hargitai gives Jozsef's poems more life using a distinct translation of rhythm, tone, yet preserving Jozsef's original work for the result of a book of poems that liberates feelings from Jozsef that only Hungarian's could understand. Now Hargitai has released these miraculous poems to the American nation, who can now read these poems for full understanding how life was for a person like Attila Jozsef.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2009
The poems in this book range from many topics that everyone can relate to from their lifetime experiences; they can go from sad to happy in just a flip of a page. An example of a happy poem is Ode from son of earth and oil, what impressed me in the poem is how he doesn't just appreciate the woman for her exterior beauty like everyone else does; he appreciates her for the human-being, the raw person of who she is. That is what true poetry should be... when one gets to the level of deepness that no one has gone before. An example of a sad poem is when he is talking about his mothers death. He goes on to say that she is like a whore who lies next to the angel of death. He's angry at the fact that she died and left him alone, it sounds selfish, but that is how much he depended and loved his mother. His attachment to his mother is what literally killed him. After she died he wasn't ever able to find another female figure in his life. So when her life ended, it eventually led to his life ending aswell. The language might be graphic, but that is how the translator, Peter Hargitai, wanted it to be. Attila Jozsef's poems weren't just some soft poetry, they had real meaning; that real meaning is what makes this book a suggested reading and enjoyable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2009
Last week I read a poem book written by Attila Jozsef and translated by Peter Hargitai. Jozsef who is rather obscure in the U.S is well known in his own culture for being a fabulous writer. His poems, originally written in Hungarian, depict what it is like to have hatred and resentment for someone, and in this case his mother. The irony is that he not only demonized his mother, but he also put her on a pedestal. He was infatuated with her in an unhealthy way which makes the poems fun to read. Attila's obsession with his mom goes so far that even the women he dates are never good enough for him because they do not compare to his mother. This is one of those poem books that you turn to the next page because you really do not know what the author is going to right next. The book is packed with sarcasm and irony. The best part about the book is that because Attila depicts things so well you actually feel like you are looking threw his eyes. I consider this book to be a "must read before you die" book because it really opens your eyes to what is really out there.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2009
"Attila Jozsef Selected Poems", is an accumulation of poems originally written in Hungarian by Attila Jozsef, later translated into English by award winning translator Peter Hargitai, whose selection "Perched On Nothing's Branch (1986)" won him the "Academy of American Poets' Landon Translation Award." Hargitai does an excellent job of capturing the emotion Jozsef put into his poems. Hargitai shares many writing traits with Jozsef, such as how they both write with a lot of rage and anger, which is part of the reason Hargitai was able to translate Jozsef's words so clearly. This book takes you through the life of a boy who is obsessed with his mother, but later becomes very angry after her death. After his mother's death Jozsef began to hate the world, he began to be obsessed with death, which shows in many of his poems. Life had lost all of its value to him. He began looking at life as some complicated thing he did not want to be a part of, and death as a relief from it all. In the book Jozsef writes many poems about his own death, and the beauty of the afterlife. Jozsef threw himself in front of an oncoming train and died at the young age of thirty two. These death filled poems will touch you and help you see life through the eyes of a depressed and lonely man. Although at times this book is very dark and gloomy, I recommend it, because of the way it stirs the reader's emotions and opens their eyes to things they had never looked at in same way before.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 28, 2009
Reading the works of Attila Jozsef is like living the life of a person who has nothing to live for. At the risk of sounding cliche, this book of selected poems translated by Peter Hargitai, is truly heart wrenching. As you read through his poems you see this lonely man who traded in his obsession with his mother for an obsession with death and suicide. He often recognizes how much simpler death is than the life he was given. In his last poem "Dew" he recalls how easy heaven must be as opposed to all the work you must do while on earth. Through his words you are consumed in his anger. His anger for the death of his mother, for the creation of the world, for being alive. When reading poems such as "Sit, stand, kill, and die" you are able to witness through his eyes how he views the world. "Watch the blood drain slowly," "set fire to all of Hungary," "if the world doesn't like me I'll leave it when I'm good and ready." Jozsef's words are powerful, they evoke feeling from the reader making it difficult to put the book down. Unfortunately his works came to an end when he ended his life at 33 by throwing himself under the wheels of a train. At some point or another we all feel the way he did. I recommend people to read this book because when your finished you will have a different outlook on life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 27, 2009
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This book is a compilation of some of Attila Jozsef's best poems; it was originally written in Hungarian and was translated into English by Peter Hargitai ("winner of the Landon Translation Award Academy of American Poets") who manages to translate the poems in a well-written, well thought out manner that allows English readers to enjoy one of Hungary's greatest poets. The agony and sorrow that Jozsef experienced throughout his life is reflected in these poems, including insight into his suicidal thoughts and hints of what led him to the fate that he dealt himself. Many of the poems are about Jozsef's mother and the loneliness and sorrow he feels because of her death. Most of the poems are about death and they are harsh, dark, and full of agony, but they are raw, full of imagery, and very realistic. However, don't let these themes fool you, they may be depressing and too dramatic or traumatic to relate to but because of their realism they invoke sympathy and you feel drawn to Jozsef and his poetry. They are must read poems that truly grab the attention of readers and keep you wanting more. Don't let these other reviews about "psychological scarring" scare you, these poems simply deal with strong issues that Attila Jozsef and many others have had to deal with throughout their lives and it makes you appreciate what you have and realize that not everyone's life is great. They may not end with a "happily ever after" but these poems are definitely realistic and eye-opening.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 28, 2009
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Originally written in Hungarian, "Attila József": Selected Poems" is a collection of 100 poems translated into English by Peter Hargitai (Academy of American Poets Landon Translation Award) that appropriately can be called the intriguing diary of a severely depressed man. Unlike most translations, Hargitai's Attila does not seem to lack the emotion of its original, but rather appears to capture the exact feel of it.
After being abandoned by his mother as a young teen, József begins his pathway to depression. When he learns of the passing of his mother, his negative outlook on life is only magnified. Ironically, the only thing he has learned to view positively is his own mother, whom he likens to the Holy Mother, despite the fact that she abandoned him.
If the thought of dark and grim thematic elements detract from your enjoyment of a book, then József's "Selected Poems" is not for you. It should be noted that this book deals heavily with thoughts of loneliness, resentment, hatred, sadness, guilt and depression, and internal conflict involving all six. However, though this book contains solely dark and grim poetry, there is something about the passion behind this man's emotion that understandably is intriguing. How can a young boy can be abandoned by his own mother and yet still believe her to be perfect?
If intrigued by the dark elements mentioned, readers will enjoy seeing life through the eyes of the tormented József and trying to understand the cycles his of emotions through his poetry.
"Atilla Jozsef: Selected Poems" is a collection of poems, originally written in Hungarian and translated into English by Peter Hargitai, winner of the "Landon Translation Award Academy of American Poets." The group of poems reflects Jozsef's agonizing life of solitude, death, and enmity. Majority of his poems expresses a tenebrous mood of the hatred and obession he had towards his mother. He had a deranged love and spoke about his mother as if she never passed away. At the same instance, he could not forgive his mother for leaving him; abandoning him in this forsaken world. Throughout the poems, Jozsef states his thoughts on death, and why he shouldn't be alive. He felt guilty of his mothers death. In other words, he thought he was the cause of his mother's cruel death. The language is strong and powerful yet, it could be disturbing to some but it truly presents the maniacal perspective Jozsef possessed. The reader is constantly flowing through the author's disturbed mind of self-inflicting thoughts. Although the poems may be depressing, his natural style of writing poems is intriguing and very interesting. Peter Hargitai translated these set of poems for a reason. There's beauty behind the collection of poems. Jozsef expresses the inner emotions of which a part of society might bear these days. The poems are interesting moments in his life, where the reader gets caught on to his philosophy of death and how it's only a choice if someone does not succeed on what they were brought on Earth for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 27, 2009
A book written by a Hungarian poet, Attila Jozsef and translated to English by Peter Hargitai; about the author personal experiences, in which he tries to express all his emotions ( Sadness, loneliness, love, anger ) through his poetry. His poems are very dark, but at the same time very realistic of a person that has been living a hard life. I find it very interesting because not everyone has a beautiful life. Although I haven't been through any of the things that Attila had live, i couldn't relate to him in that way, but could understand what he was going through. Its not easy growing up without a father, losing your mother at a young age and find yourself lonely. Many would have thought that Attila's poems are very strong in the fact that they are too dark, but I believe there isn't a beautiful way to express all that pain. I find it very normal that a person that finds himself in the same position as Jozsef would doubt about living and would think about dying as an exit to all his problems, even though I don't agree with that solution. I believe God moves things in a perfect way and for anything that happens he has a reason or a purpose. It is very admirable to keep strong and get up from all the difficult times we could have in our lives. After reading these poems I consider myself very lucky because I have been blessed with a beautiful life and I can understand how different each life is. I will really recommend this book to any people that will like to see another perspective of life and in that way comprehend the things behind people we might find "weird".Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 27, 2009
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Attila Jozsef: Selected Poems is a compilation of the late Hungarian author's poems, as translated by Peter Hargitai. Jozsef's poetry has long been known among his own culture, but is sadly somewhat obscure in the west, so for those who do not know, it is important to note that Jozsef's poetry is auto-biographical in nature and covers excessively dark themes, such as failing relationships, thoughts of death, resentment, and loneliness. If one is comfortable reading about these issues, then they will find that Attila Jozsef is possibly one of the most underrated poets the world as ever known. Beautifully translated by Mr. Hargitai, these poems are filled to the brim with unadulterated emotion, providing an in-depth look into Jozsef's life and effortlessly sucking in the reader into it. While it is doubtful that the average reader has experienced a life as harsh as Jozsef's, the vast amount of subjects that his poetry covers and the timelessness of his writing will ensure that that any given person will be able to relate to the author's suffering at any given time. It should be noted that, as the poems were originally written in Hungarian rather then English, it could have been entirely possible for the poems to make little to no sense to the average American if it were not for the books brilliant translation. Quite simply, this book oozes brilliance from every pore in its body. Attila Jozsef is quite possibly one of the most respected Hungarian poets to have ever lived, and, if one can handle the subject matter, this book is a perfect addition to anyone's poetry collection.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 22, 2009
Attila Jozsef was one of the most influential Hungarian poet s of his time, who eventually came to America for a journey of his life. He faced very critical times in his life, including a time when his mother felt forced to give him up to an aunt and uncle. This man was even a patient of the infamous Sigmund Freud. His selected poems were closely and efficiently translated by Peter Hargitai.
In content, Jozsef spoke mainly of the dark and hidden side of the human mind, taken there by a load of emotions such as tragedy, pain, and the other side of love. The book contains a division of five sections, each having to do with a variety of poems. As I read through many of these poems, I realized that even though I cannot relate to all his traumatic events , he does make put yourself in his shoes. A lot of problems Attila had are universal, and it's his eagerness to express himself that invite us to explore his reality through his poems. The harsh and unbearable stages of his life have emotionally driven him to express himself so vividly, which in this case is a good thing because the product was the poems of a great poet with a tragic past.
To get a glimpse of this great book, I am including a small passage taken from the poem A Final Battle. The poem goes like this:
As the world turns
My stomach churns,
Love inside my burns,
The world is sick,
Wars are bloody vomit.
Our mouths eat nothing
But cowardly silence.
I kick myself to make a difference!
I'm a poet in a chaotic age
Offered plenty for his rage.
Thanks to Peter Hargitai, we had the privilege of reading the poems in English, which sure brought to life the deep and strong style of writings of Attila Jozsef's Selected Poems.
Posted April 17, 2009
Attila Jozsef's Selected Poems were a collection of poems packed with various emotions. Originally writen in Hungarian, these selected poems were later translated into English by Peter Hargitai. The poems were all filled with anger and sadness that mostly were directed toward his mother. With every line there was a strong message of pain and anguish that quickly jumps out at you as you read along. His relationship with his mother was very strange and only took a stranger turn once she died leaving him to feel much more alone and angry at her than he already had been. Attila constantly blamed his mother for being selfish and was very upset that she never payed any attention to him. He blamed her for always working and never being around. Attila Jozsef's longing for a mother that payed attention to him grew even more once she passed away, forever robbing him of the mother figure he so badly wanted. Attila turned his grief to writing and began to express his sorrow. The death of his mother also lead him to find it difficult to fall in love with another woman that wasn't her, leaving a major void in his life and lonely till the day he died. His poetry is filled with sarcasm and vivid descriptions about the world though his eyes. Page by page you could feel his pain pour out of his heart though each line. Pain and anger flow with his words as he thinks back to memories of his life. Attila Jozsef eventually commits suicide by laying in front of a train putting an end to all his suffering. Although I am a fan of poetry, I could just not get into the dark and down right depressing poems in this book. I really found it hard to connect with the author and all the hash conditions he faced growing up. I do admire his honesty and the courage that he writes with. This book only leads you down a dark path of emotional self pain which I personally cannot identify with. -Juan GarciaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2009
Attila Jozsef is a well known Hungarian poet. His poems have been translated into many languages. Florida International University's very own professor of English Peter Hargitai has translated the famous poet's work into English and as a result has become an award winning translator. Jozsef's poems are an amazing expression of emotions flooding off the pages. His poems focus on a range of emotions such as love, loneliness and anguish. The poems are easily relatable to one's own life and are a source of good advice on various occasions. Selected Poems is a literary beauty structured in such a unique way that one can simultaneously view an improvised Hungary as well as the world today.
This collection of poems is an inspiring expression of human emotion. It makes one feel many different ways at once. It opens one to more than meets the eye, it forces one to expand their view and gain perspective.
Posted April 16, 2009
An interesting book that I was reading this spring was Attila Jozsef Selected Poems translated by Peter Hargitai. It is a book filled with 100 classic poems from the actual Attila Jozsef. One poem that caught my eye was The Net. I think that the poet wanted to say that he's trying to get the good things, seen in the line that says "hoping to catch silver dreams and a little meat to go with it", in life but luck is obviously not on his side with the line "I think it's torn this net of mine". This net is kind of like his security blanket per say. Then he goes on and says that "the frozen net sparkles in the sky - its icy knots the stars". I think that he might be meaning that the actual net has the beauty and the good things in life, but I'm not completely sure. The poet started out with the bitter and bad things in life that were happening to him like running out of hair and his uncle dying. "True but sad", he added. He casts his nerves like a fisherman's net and just hopes for the best and hopes to catch his dreams but the net turns out to be torn so he doesn't get what he wants. When he patches it up though, he sees the icy net sparkle like the stars in the sky. My interpretation is that the net is the silver dream that he was looking for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2009
Translating is not an easy task to accomplish, mainly because people interpret things in many different ways. Sometimes the way you say and express ideas can change the entire content of what was meant to be said. This is relevant in the translation of Atilla Jozsef's Selected Poems translated by Zsuzanna Osavth, Frederick Turner, and Peter Hargitai. We see this for example in the poem "For My Birthday" or "On My Birthday" depending on which version you read. "For My Birthday" the one translated by Osavth and Turner is the one I felt was more difficult to understand. It is in their attempt to try to order the words in a certain way that the last words of each poem rhyme. Their choice of words make their works more difficulty and different. In this version the choice of words are more elusive and sometimes I do not know the meaning of the words, therefore making it more difficult to understand. "On My Birthday" translated by Hargitai is much easier for me to understand. This is because Hargitai's word choice is very simple and straight to the point. His writing style resembles that of an everyday conversation therefore making it easier for me to understand the underlying message of the poem. Another example of how translating can be a difficult task is seen in the poem "With a Pure Heart" or "With All My Heart" once again depending on which version you choose to read. I feel that "With a Pure Heart" translated by Osavth and Turner is a little more difficult to understand mainly because the use of archaic language and the inverted sentence to be consistent with the rhyme scheme. "With All My Heart" seems to be changed a little by Hargitai or simply interpreted differently, resembling more of a story with a simple understanding. After reading both versions, my preference was Peter Hargitai's version because of its simplicity. His technique of using the everyday language broadens his audience and allows them to relate and be exposed to the work of Attila Jozsef.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2009
Almost immediately I could sense the warmth and truthfulness pouring out of the poems. Attila describes so many emotions when writing it is almost unreal. How does he captivate the audience so much? I spoke to someone else who was reading this book at the same time and she said the exact same thing. We both were moved by the way that Attila described his mother. He idolized her and early on realized that he wants his wife to be just like his mother. It was difficult for me to read the section where he describes the death of his mother. This was the first time that reading something actually became emotionally difficult, mainly because I could relate to the feeling of loosing someone who you love so much and who loved you so much. The description of his emotions are clearly visible though the poetry, which is something that can not be said about all poets. Attila's story is captivating and if you let it, takes you to a place of true mediation and spiritually. This is truly a must read all across the board.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2009
Attila Jozsef's Selected Poems in my opinion is a great collection of poems which depicts a variety of different problems and situations that a person might go through in their lifetime. Attila Jozsef's book is a short auto-biography of the life he had growing up. These poems show a variety of feelings which Attila faces. For example, some poems depict courage, and strength, while others are the complete opposite and show hate and loneliness. The poems range from familial and personal feelings to issues of religion and faith. I believe this is a great book due to the fact that the reader is able to interpret and connect to the poems in their own way. Each poem in these selected poems gives off a different message to whomever the reader is. In my opinion the reason I believe these poems are a great success is due to the fact that as the reader you are able to connect with the Author.
The poems allow the reader to understand what type of person the author was and why exactly it is that he was like that. Although many would find reading poems a bother or a waste of time, I believe that Attila Jozsef's selected poems are filled with very deep emotions and meaningful words. These poems are filled with honesty and express truthfulness from this unique author. One of the greatest things about this book is the author's usage of words and writing style. He is able to make sad poems into a masterpiece by giving a sense of comfort and ease. I can truly recommend this book to anyone.
MWF 9-9:50 AM
Posted April 16, 2009
This book is full of poetry by Attila Jozsef. The poems symbolize everything from government, relationships, poverty, love, and loneliness . They were sad, yet beautiful, real yet imaginary. I liked the way he put his mother on a pedestal, and saw her almost as a superwoman. He often states about making changes and differences, and how beautiful life really is. It's very contradictive the way he makes such gloomy poems so pleasing and fascinating at the same time. I actually really enjoyed reading the mini biography on Jozsef, and it gave me a better understanding of him and of his work.
His mother had to struggle to provide, and his father basically deserted them both. Some might find it upsetting that he questions his faith and his relationship with God, but I find it to be real. I question my faith all the time, it's normal, and it is okay to question something you aren't sure of. Jozsef finds himself critiquing the women in his life, and his constant wish for perfection grows bigger with each woman he meets. Attila's emotions are portrayed on every page, and he let his guard down to reach out to his readers and pull them in by expressing the feelings that everyone has but are too scared to admit to. People say that his writing is dark and gloomy, but his poems are real and full of passion. Anyone can relate to them if they allow themselves to connect with the words, and let go of their inhibitions. This book is a creative form of literature that I have never seen before. It is uncensored and raw. He turned a new life for poetry and literature, and not many would be able to match his style.