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George Szirtes - Author

About the Author

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948, and came to England with his family after the 1956 Hungarian uprising. He was educated in England, training as a painter, and has always written in English. In recent years he has worked as a translator of Hungarian literature, producing editions of such writers as Otto Orban, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and gnes Nemes Nagy. He co-edited Bloodaxe's Hungarian anthology The Colonnade of Teeth. His Bloodaxe poetry books are The Budapest File (2000); An English Apocalypse (2001); Reel (2004), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; New & Collected Poems (2008) and The Burning of the Books and other poems (2009). Bloodaxe has also published John Sears' critical study Reading George Szirtes (2008). Szirtes lives in Norfolk and teaches at the University of East Anglia.

Featured books by George Szirtes

The Burning of the Books and Other Poems

The Burning of the Books and Other Poems

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/09/2009

The title-poem of George Szirtes' "The Burning of the Books and Other Poems" is the core of this collection of narrative sequences by a writer who came to Britain as a child refugee after the Hungarian Uprising. Book burning is associated with the Nazis' burning of what they considered to be subversive books in 1933, but the practice has a long history, right down to our own day. In this particular case the burning refers to the library of Kien, the scholar, in Elias Canetti's novel "Auto Da Fae". The poems follow and expand from the events of Canetti's book in a variety of forms not previously used by Szirtes. Two further sequences are concerned with history and documentary, one about the discovery of small snippets of film recording the liberation of Penig concentration camp where Szirtes' mother was imprisoned, and another of songs concerning war and documentary photography. There are also prose poems, monologues, a series of canzoni, a group of poems exploring the origins of love in childhood, and another based on the mythical travels of Sir John Mandeville about the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. The book, as a whole, constitutes an exploration of the range and flexibility of a voice attuned to the patterns of history and the way such patterns transform our sense of the present.

ebook of the month

Other books by George Szirtes

Ten Poems About London

Ten Poems About London

Author: George Szirtes Format: Pamphlet Release Date: 01/04/2020

The Photographer at Sixteen

The Photographer at Sixteen

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2020

A truly remarkable book . . . fiercely compelling EDMUND DE WAAL I've read no memoir that moved me more MIRANDA SEYMOUR The writing is always scrupulous . . . [a] compelling memoir BLAKE MORRISON Beautifully written and utterly compelling Sunday Times An original, probingly thoughtful memoir EVA HOFFMANN Full of warmth, grief, curiosity, wisdom . . . highly original New European An exquisitely told memoir Spectator Beautiful, devastating The Arts Desk The beloved poet's memoir of his mother that flows backwards through time, and through a tumultuous period of European history - a tender and yet unsparing autobiographical journey. In July 1975, Magda Szirtes died in the ambulance on the way to hospital after she had tried to take her own life. She was fifty-one years old. The Photographer at Sixteen spools into the past, through her exile in England, her flight with her husband and two young boys from Hungary in 1956 and her time in two concentration camps, her girlhood as an ambitious photographer, and the unknowable fate of her vanished family in Transylvania. The woman who emerges - with all her contradictions - is utterly captivating. What were the terrors and obsessions that drove her? The Photographer at Sixteen reveals a life from the depths of its final days to the comparable safety of its childhood. It is a book born of curiosity, of guilt and of love.

Hinterland

Hinterland

Author: George Szirtes, Helen Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/11/2019

Thirty Clouds

Thirty Clouds

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2019

The Call of the Clerihew

The Call of the Clerihew

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2019

The Photographer at Sixteen

The Photographer at Sixteen

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/01/2019

A poet's memoir of his mother that flows backwards through time, and through a tumultuous period of European history - a tender and yet unsparing autobiographical journey. In July 1975, Magda Szirtes died in the ambulance on the way to hospital after she had tried to take her own life. She was fifty-one years old. The Photographer at Sixteen spools into the past, through her exile in England, her flight with her husband and two young boys from Hungary in 1956 and her time in two concentration camps, her girlhood as an ambitious photographer, and the unknowable fate of her vanished family in Transylvania. The woman who emerges - with all her contradictions - is utterly captivating. What were the terrors and obsessions that drove her? The Photographer at Sixteen reveals a life from the depths of its final days to the comparable safety of its childhood. It is a book born of curiosity, of guilt and of love.

The Photographer at Sixteen

The Photographer at Sixteen

Author: George Szirtes Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/01/2019

A truly remarkable book . . . fiercely compelling EDMUND DE WAAL I've read no memoir that moved me more MIRANDA SEYMOUR The writing is always scrupulous . . . [a] compelling memoir BLAKE MORRISON Beautifully written and utterly compelling Sunday Times An original, probingly thoughtful memoir EVA HOFFMANN Full of warmth, grief, curiosity, wisdom . . . highly original New European An exquisitely told memoir Spectator Beautiful, devastating The Arts Desk A poet's memoir of his mother that flows backwards through time, and through a tumultuous period of European history - a tender and yet unsparing autobiographical journey. In July 1975, Magda Szirtes died in the ambulance on the way to hospital after she had tried to take her own life. She was fifty-one years old. The Photographer at Sixteen spools into the past, through her exile in England, her flight with her husband and two young boys from Hungary in 1956 and her time in two concentration camps, her girlhood as an ambitious photographer, and the unknowable fate of her vanished family in Transylvania. The woman who emerges - with all her contradictions - is utterly captivating. What were the terrors and obsessions that drove her? The Photographer at Sixteen reveals a life from the depths of its final days to the comparable safety of its childhood. It is a book born of curiosity, of guilt and of love.

Thirty Poets Go to the Gym

Thirty Poets Go to the Gym

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2018

Like a Black Bird

Like a Black Bird

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/12/2017

This pocket-sized paperback is one of the twenty-four titles published for 2017 Hong Kong International Poetry Nights. The theme of IPHHK2017 is Ancient Enmity . IPNHK is one of the most influential international poetry events in Asia. From 22-26 November 2017, over 20 invited poets from various countries will be in Hong Kong to read their works based on the theme Ancient Enmity. Included in the anthology and box set, these unique works are presented with Chinese and English translations in bilingual or trilingual formats.

Christmas Stocking

Christmas Stocking

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/10/2017

How to be a Tiger

How to be a Tiger

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2017

The tiger growls, its eyes ablaze, but we too have our tiger ways, we too can pad through the dark wood of the cosmic neighbourhood. Leap with hares, call out to the sun, run with the wind, pull silly faces with monkeys, watch out for the bear in the bathroom and meet a burping princess! A fantastic new collection for younger children from a prize-winning poet. These poems are perfect for curious young minds, ready for adventures.

Fifty Six

Fifty Six

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/12/2016

56 is a collaboration between two poets from very different literary traditions whose ears are tuned to a mutual music, voice, lyric, association, and language. With a painting by Jenny Saville as a starting point, this collaboration grew into a sequence of 56 poems which, by coincidence, was begun fifty-six years after 1956, the year in which George Szirtes came to England. The result of this inventive dialogue is the creation of a rich poetic territory, an isle full of noises and magic.

Mapping the Delta

Mapping the Delta

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2016

The Delta is a densely populated place. Whole countries inhabit it, exercising their powers and authority, presenting their offers of complicity and compliance. Individuals move through the night and come upon themselves in its mirrors. Dreamers and fantasists repopulate its hidden corners: Rimbaud, Bruno Schultz, William Blake, Arthur Schnitzler and the physicist Dennis Gabor lay claim to their own visions of it. Animals gaze at their human companions who gaze back. They try to puzzle each other out, looking to climb into each other's eyes. They court each other, desire their own species, are captivated both by each other's and their own beauty. Life goes on its desultory way, finding itself between creeks and cracks. And occasionally the world does crack open. Planes crash, boats sink, weather changes, floodwaters rise, people vanish on journeys. Anxiety remains: disaster zones persist into old age and death, and into the life, death and resurrection of language itself. At the core of the book is The Yellow Room, a sequence of mirror poems contemplating the Jewishness of the poet's father. The room constricts and glows.The poem breaks up across the page at intervals then reassembles into its mirrors. Many of the poems are formal haiku sequences. They are new parts of a personal Delta. Others are in rhymed and broken stanzas. The Delta has to survive - if it survives at all - on its broken patterns. Poetry Book Society Choice.

Fifty-Six

Fifty-Six

Author: George Szirtes Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/07/2016

UEA Creative Writing Anthology Poetry

UEA Creative Writing Anthology Poetry

Author: George Szirtes, UEA Students Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/10/2013

Bad Machine

Bad Machine

Author: George Szirtes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 24/01/2013

The body is the 'bad machine' of George Szirtes' latest book of poems. The sudden death of his elderly father and of his younger friend, the poet Michael Murphy, remind him how machines - sources of energy and delight in their prime - go so easily wrong; and that change in the body is a signal for moving on. But language too is a body. Here, politics, assimilation, desire, creatureliness and the pleasure and loss of the body, mingle in various attenuated forms such as lexicon, canzone, acrostics, mirror poems, postcards, and a series of 'minimenta' after Anselm Kiefer whose love of history as rubble and monument haunts this collection. George Szirtes is one of our most inventive - and constantly reinventing - poets, and Bad Machine shows him developing new themes and new ways of writing in poems which stretch the possibilities of form and question language and its mastery.