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Lóránt K.Kabai
( 1977 )

» Chlorine (2010)


A poet, writer and editor, Lóránt K. Kabai was born in Miskolc in 1977. His works have been published in major literary journals since the early 1990s. His reviews, essays, interviews and reports appear regularly on the pages of various publications. He currently edits a literary and graphic novel column as well as the online version of a cultural journal. Kabai is also known as an artist whose works – mainly graphic art, paintings, collages and photographs – have been shown at exhibitions
both at home and abroad, including Germany, Belgium, and Italy. He also organizes and participates in happenings and performances throughout Hungary. In 2002 he graduated from the University of Miskolc, where he studied Hungarian language and literature. His primary research fi eld is
Hungarian neo-avantgarde art.
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What remains when love is gone? A labyrinth of emotions burned by chlorine, a whirlwind roller coaster state of being. Language, which provides a profusion of adjectives and metaphors for love, is reluctant to do the same for its passing, the worn words are incapable of describing the pain and tension that remains in the wake of the piece torn from the self. In his collection of poems, Klór (Chlorine), Lóránt K. Kabai searches for a mode of communication that will allow the writer to speak about the loss of love without having to invoke clichés. In Klór, the poetic self treats the wounds of separation with unfamiliar honesty, sparing neither himself nor his reader. Homely images of past calm appear, harshly reminding the lyrical self of the imperative to remember. “A thousand pounds of solitude” come to weigh on the soul of the person desperate for love. Th e section titles, each of which appears on a naked part of the author’s body – evoke the various stages aft er a breakup – the search for a new identity aft er it has been shattered by a breakup (“jöttment” – “coming-going”), the denial in wake of the initial shock (“semmi de” – “no excuses”), and the rearrangement of feelings (“lomtár” – “storage closet”). Within each cycle, however, the turbulent self is incapable of resolution. Caught between waves of self-pity and self-fl agellation, between the tension generated by the poems within each cycle and between the cycles, the writers and philosophers called upon (for example, David Lynch, Wittgenstein, Jacques Roubaud) allows for brief moments of sobriety to allow for a meditation on the nature of passion. At these points, the personal sphere contracts, making room for general existential questions. But aft er the transitory calm, the resumed pain is even more intense. Left to fend for itself, bereft of its mate, the “homeless” self opens up and reveals the depth of its suff ering with recourse to strong, raw, off ensive and soft images, but this opening up, this nakedness for the sake of “someone, anyone” is permeated through and through with the need to communicate and the despair that springs from solitude. In the fi nal analysis, this combination of solitude, separation, anger and self-reproach is every bit as toxic as the gas that gives the volume its title. Luckily, the poems themselves, which through the act of writing free the poetic self of the toxin, are themselves the antidote.

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