Straight Labyrinth

János Pilinszky in the Poetry, Music, and Thought
of Three Hungarian Artists

March 20, 2022 at 3 p.m. EDT

a Zoom event hosted by Diana Senechal
and the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers

Pilinszky, music, poetry, discussion, all in one! Please join the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW), our host Diana Senechal, and our three featured guests—the poet Csenger Kertai and the musicians Gergely Balla (Platon Karataev) and Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly (Platon Karataev, Cz.K. Sebő)—for an online discussion, recitation, and performance honoring the Hungarian poet János Pilinszky (1921-1981).

This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about Pilinszky and to listen to our guests in conversation, poetry, and song. Diana Senechal will interview the guests about Pilinszky and his role in their art and thought; the discussion will be combined with recitations of Pilinszky's poems and performances of the guest's own work. The event is free and open to the public via Zoom. (Zoom details will be posted here as soon as they become available. The Facebook event page can be found here.)

Pilinszky is known around the world for his intensity and brevity of word, his grief over the Holocaust, his solitude and longing for home, his combination of Christian faith and despair, and the translations of his work into English by Ted Hughes, G├ęza Simon, and others. But his poetry goes beyond these descriptors. It stands bare and alone.

What makes this event special is not only its bilingual nature, not only its emphasis on an extraordinary twentieth-century Hungarian poet, not only its combination of discussion, poetry, and music, not only its featured guests, but the ease with which the audience will be brought into Pilinszky's work. By focusing on a few poems—discussing them, reciting them, and presenting translations of them—we hope to leave the audience with something memorable, to which they may later return.

The event will be in English and Hungarian; no knowledge of Hungarian is required. We cordially welcome anyone interested in poetry, literary translation, songs and songwriting, Hungarian language and literature, or Pilinszky himself.

Questions? Email dianalouisesenechal at gmail dot com or follow the event on Facebook. Any updates about the event will be posted here as well. To calculate the start time in your location, go here. To download a flyer, go here.

Pilinszky image credit: Pilinszky János, Szép versek 1971 (published 1972). Photo # 44.
Photo of Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly by Pál Czirják, published in
Kortárs Online.