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Vendor- Borbely, Szilard

In a Bucolic Land

In a Bucolic Land

Borbely, Szilard

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Szilárd Borbély spent his childhood in a tiny impoverished village in  northeastern Hungary, where the archaic peasant world of Eastern Europe  coexisted with the collectivist ideology of a new Communist state. Close to the Soviet border and far from any metropolitan center, the village was a world apart: life was harsh, monotonous, and often brutal, and the Borbélys, outsiders and “class enemies,” were shunned. In a Bucolic Land, Borbély’s final, posthumously published book of poems, combines autobiography, ethnography, classical mythology, and pastoral idyll in a remarkable central poetic sequence about the starkly precarious and yet strangely numinous liminal zone of his youth. This is framed by elegies for a teacher in which  the poet meditates on the nature of language and speech and on the adequacy of words to speak of and for the dead. Ottilie Mulzet’s English translation conveys the full power of a writer of whom László Krasznahorkai has said, “He was a poet—a great poet—who shatters us.”