Readings and Listenings

This page has links to Pilinszky poems and recordings, as well as select works by our guests. No advance reading or listening is required. You can also download a program of the specific Pilinszky poems and quotes that we will discuss.


János Pilinszky

János Pilinszky, "Egy szenvedély margójára" (in Hungarian, along with an English translation by N. Ullrich Katalin); see also Diana Senechal's translation and comments.

"Egyenes labirintus" ("Straight Labyrinth"): original Hungarian text and an English translation by N. Ullrich Katalin, published on Magyarul Bábelben. You can hear Pilinszly recite the poem here. See also Diana Senechal's translation and thoughts.

"The Straight Labyrinth" (translation by Géza Simon, published in Hungarian Literature Online). Also, listen to Cz.K. Sebő read this translation on a musical bed of guitar (in a 2014 recording).

Nicole Waldner, "The silence of the hook is what you must note." János Pilinszky's Centenary (1921–1981), Agenda Poetry, April 2022.

Nicole Waldner, "The Ecstatic Barriers of Silence." Lili Ország Part II. (This wonderful essay quotes Ted Hughes's translation of "Straight Labyrinth" in full.)

"On a Fine Day" (Géza Simon's translation, published in Hungarian Literature Online, of Pilinszky's "Egy szép napon").

"Kegyelem" ("Grace"): Hungarian text with English translation by Katalin N. Ullrich, published on Babelmatrix; see also Diana Senechal's rough translation and commentary.

Several Pilinszky poems, side by side with translations, including three translations of "Apokrif," the last of these by Ted Hughes and János Csokits.

Translations, by Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri, of Pilinszky's "Francia fogoly" ("The French Prisoner") and "Harbach 1944." You can compare these with the translations of Ted Hughes and János Csokits, which can be found along with the original poems here and here.

György Kurtág's musical response (a short cello composition) to Pilinszky's poem Gérard de Nerval" (a translation of which can be found here).

Those interested in Hughes's translations of Pilinszky and, more broadly, in questions of poetic translation are encouraged to read at least a chapter of the poet Tara Bergin's 2013 doctoral thesis. (Note: At the event we will not be discussing Hughes' translations except in passing, but the thesis is fascinating.—D.S.)

Also, see Tara Bergin, "Translating the Translator: New Discoveries about Ted Hughes and János Pilinszky," Modern Poetry in Translation, no. 3 2021.

In December 2021, Hungarian Literature Online published "János Pilinszky in English Translation—A List."

JSTOR has a plethora of articles about and translations of Pilinszky. To access them, just register for free. JSTOR has expanded its access during Covid so that individuals without institutional access may read 100 articles per month.

The film Hűség a labirintushoz—Beszélgetés Pilinszky Jánossal, Gyula Maár's 1978 film of a conversation with Pilinszky, during which Pilinszky reads eleven of his poems.


Cz.K. Sebő (Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly)

"On a Fine Day" (Cz.K. Sebő's song rendition of Pilinszky's "Egy szép napon" as translated by Géza Simon).

How could I show you the beauty of a life in vain? (Cz.K. Sebő's first LP, released in December 2021). The band consists of Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly, Benedek Szabó and Soma Bradák. (Also read Diana Senechal's essay on the album.)


Csenger Kertai

Read two poems by Csenger Kertai, "Redemption" and "I," translated by Diana Senechal, in the January 2022 issue of Asymptote. There you can also read the poems in the original and listen to a recording of Kertai reading them aloud.

Read two poems by Csenger Kertai, "Constant Slashing" and "Mercy," translated by Diana Senechal, in the Winter 2022 issue of Literary Matters. There you can also read the poems in the original.

Listen to five of Csenger Kertai's poems ("Saját csillagod," "Hold," "Ahogy te akarod," "Balaton," and Én) set to music and song by different Hungarian musicians, including Cz.K. Sebő. You can listen to the whole EP here. Also, for the Hász Eszter Quintet's version of "Hold," go here.


Platon Karataev

Listen to Platon Karataev's new album, Partért kiáltó, released on January 21, 2022.

Listen to Platon Karataev's "Bitter Steps" (from their Atoms album; read the lyrics here).

Listen to Sebő and Gergő (Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly and Gergely Balla) perform the title song of Platon Karataev's 2022 album Partért kiáltó). This live video premiered on December 18, 2021. See also Diana Senechal's translation of the lyrics.

Listen to Sebő and Gergő perform "Lombkoronaszint," the last song of Platon Karataev's 2022 album Partért kiáltó). This live video premiered on March 15, 2022.