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Twisted Spoon Press

PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

Book details:
Dancing Embers

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an essay on Kányádi here and an interview here

author events:

about the translator:
Paul Sohar was born in Hungary and came to the United States after the revolution in 1956, earning a B.A. from the University of Illinois. His translations of Hungarian poets have appeared in a wide variety of journals and anthologies, including the bilingual volume Maradok–I Remain (Pro-Print, 1997). He is also the translator of True Tales of a Ficticious Spy.

  dancing embers

by Sándor Kányádi

translated from the Hungarian by Paul Sohar
foreword by Katherine McNamara

Hailing from a small ethnic Hungarian village in Transylvania, Sándor Kányádi (1929–2018) lived his life in Romania where through his work as a writer, translator, and editor he endeavored to keep his language and culture alive amid an often hostile environment. There was probably no Hungarian town or village of any size in the whole Carpathian Basin that Kányádi had not visited to recite in schools and libraries not only his owns poems but also the Hungarian classics (and always from memory). Like all great poets his work encompasses many styles and forms, often incorporating elements of folk songs and popular myth. A recipient of many literature awards in Europe, including the top prizes in Romania and Hungary both, this is the first comprehensive volume of his poetry to be published in English.


What others say:

Kányádi's poetry, which is closely entwined with the living history and conditions of the Hungarian community living in Romania, is powerfully influenced by the fact that it was conceived amid the conditions of an ethnic minority. However, this predicament is far from being the only key for interpreting this poetry. A decade and a half after the collapse of the previous regime, it is now clearly visible that he had transubstantiated the language of his province into something that is worthy of being called world literature. In this language he became capable of posing the most burning questions of 20th century man in a frame of universal poetry: the elemental desire of existential and ontological home-coming. The existence and destiny of the Transylvanian Hungarian community forms a part, and to him the most important part, of this overall dilemma.

— Hungarian Literature Online

Sándor Kányádi is undoubtedly the greatest living Hungarian poet.

— Gyorgy Faludy

In this volume of world-class poetry, Mr. Kányádi frequently mentions both the need for and the inadequacy of poetry.

The Iconoclast

[M]eeting Kányádi will always stand out in my memory.

— Robert Creeley

In Paul Sohar's best translations poetic inspiration combines with an intimate knowledge of the language.

— Tibor Cseh, Itt-Ott

Kányádi's lyrical poetry is both pleasurable and informative. The reader gains a real sense of place and time and the culture as well as the everyday world of the Transylvanian village is beautifully evoked.

The Budapest Sun

Kányádi makes the word — the grain of the future harvest, the seed of thought — a sharp and at the same time delicate instrument for understanding life, of awareness. This instrument is so delicate that his poetry really needs to be read out loud so that our eyes do not go astray in the web of images abruptly arising one after another.

— Luc Norin in La Libre Culture

Thanks to Sohar's determination to keep as much as possible of the regular rhymes and meters that are so natural, he says, to all Hungarian poetry, these translations dance, and they keep dancing when they shift into free verse.

Booklist, starred review

Faced with the linguistic complexities of the Hungarian vernacular, not to mention the inherent difficulties of literary translation, Sohar has pulled off an admirably graceful English version of these poems that recreate Kányádi's rhyme and meter so effectively that his translations can be considered works of art in themselves.

— Travis Jeppesen, The Prague Pill

These poems disturb and stab the conscience, startle and awaken our sensibilities ... This is a book Americans must read.

Off the Coast

Kanyadi's vivid poems display an impressive range of styles, moods, and forms ... these poems are alive with history, and history is alive in the poems — beaten down in the present, perhaps, by the forces of political repression, but not defeated.

World Literature Today

"All Souls' Day in Vienna," surely one of the major poems of post-war Europe.

— William Doreski, Square Lake


ISBN 9788086264042
180 pp.
14.5 x 20.5 cm
softcover with flaps
selected poetry
RRP: $14 • £8.95

release dates:
UK: January 2007
US: October 2002

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