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Árpád Kollár
( 1980 )

» Not in Sarajevo (2010)


Árpád Kollár was born in Zenta (Senta), Serbia in 1980. He currently lives in Szeged. He earned degrees in Hungarian and sociology from the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Szeged, where he is pursuing his doctoral studies. He is also the president of the Hungarian Young Writers’ Association. Kollár has published studies, critiques and essays. His fi rst collection of poetry, Például a madzag (For Example the String), which appeared in 2005, received several awards given to fi rst
time authors. Th e volume Például a madzag highlights the concept of boundaries, their expansion and contraction, and the possibility of crossing them. With this in mind, observation receives special emphasis in his poems, for it is only through observation that the various boundaries can be understood. In the works Kollár has published so far, the constantly approaching and receding points of view create an experience of homelessness and uncertainty, a state of being that even the memories of the poetic narrator are incapable of resolving.

Not in Sarajevo

The title of Árpád Kollár’s collection of poems, Nem Szarajevóban (Not in Sarajevo), simultaneously signals a disassociation with this city and the problematics of changing gender roles. For Kollár, Sarajevo is a specifi c individualized space in which his poetic world comes to life. Th e city’s name recalls the Balkan Wars from the early 1990s and the siege that lasted several years, just as much as it refers to the city’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious culture. Th e interconnected spaces and the events that can be tied to them are central to the volume. Th e poems placed in the central section of the work titled “Szarajevó nem” (“Sarajevo No”) in this regard are founded in the fragmented memories of the author, and therefore provide the reader with brief moments or a microcosm as opposed to a wider view. This contemplative attitude equally chooses as its subjects dust dropping from a statue, deer standing in a river, Sarajevo’s bleak fi rewalls, well-rounded female buttocks, and cracks in the walls caused by grenades. From the descriptions, one can understand Sarajevo’s strangeness and the unpredictability of nature. Kollár’s quick changes in imagery are meant to symbolize the fractured nature of memory. The volume’s fi nal section brings changes compared to the fi rst two. While the previous sections focused on the past, in the fi nal section of the book, the emphasis is on the problems of the present and how they can be dealt with. Now small spaces (a kitchen, an apartment) receive emphasis along with the human body, which is now the stage for the transformation of the identity of the poetic self. Th e ascent into manhood and fatherhood are treated in relationship to the body, thereby turning the poems into sensitive spaces for self-refl ection. Árpád Kollár’s volume Nem Szarajevóban is built upon memories and the delicate description of various subjects. His poetry, due to his eye for fi ne detail, is highly personal, but the cultural background that shades his perceptions raises it to a universal level. FISZ, 2010

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