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Szabolcs VÁRADY
( 1943 )


1943 born and educated in Budapest
1961-65 works as a proofreader for a Budapest publishing house (Szépirodalmi)
1965-69 studies Philology of the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
1968 first poems in the anthology Első ének (First Song)
1969 editor for the Európa Publishing House, from 1971, senior editor for the Anglo-American section
1988 spends a year in the USA as a Fulbright scholar
1989-present on the staff of the literary monthly Holmi

His prizes include:
1981 Graves Prize
1987 Tibor Déry Award
1991 Attila József Prize
1992 the Soros Foundation's Life-work award
1995 the Soros Foundation's Literary Prize
2004 Palládium Prize
2009 Kossuth-Prize

Since You Are Here

Várady dissects - in his playful and highly ironic, philosophical and conversational style - everyday situations, objects and gestures. "The elegantly slim oeuvre" of this "dangerously full-fledged" poet, according to his mentor, the poet István Vas, belongs to the "most recent, highly sophisticated current of contemporary European and Hungarian poetry, which, in return for the loss of verse-form, creates its own art of form from the poem's innermost and barest shape". Like the Latin poets, Várady is the artist of syntax. The critic István Margócsy underlines "investigation, the search for the essence" in the interplay of experience, the reflecting self, an intellectual stance and the correlations of time.

Supposing It’s Not As It Is

The poetic voice changes: "At the end of the Seventies, a lyrical vein, which had been hidden (out of modesty? or inhibition?), finally broke free", fellow poet László Lator wrote in 1995. Now not only in occasional verses does Várady allows himself to use traditional instruments of poetry like tune, verse form, and intimacy. After the highly sceptical poems of the first volume, speaking up for the spirit of his whole generation, here are poems of personal anguish, love and dreams.

The Hidden Exit

In this collected volume, besides old and new poems, there are verse translations, studies and light or occasional verses. It is remarkable how many different poetic voices Várady intones, from Classical Horatio to post-colonial Derek Walcott, from Pessoa's passionate tone to Auden's impassibility, from Thomas Hardy's lyric realism to Ted Hughes's demonic vision. Among his studies, Várady pays the greatest attention to György Petri and the third important member of their generation, Dezső Tandori, but his insight is best manifested in his essays on Ernő Szép, István Vas and László Lator.

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