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Miklos Radnoti

Hi. I'm still alive. The kids and I are trading off the flu. But--and this is important--I found my Collected Paul Blackburn. And all my poetry books--72 linear feet--are shelved.





Via Silliman's blog, I'm reminded of one of the great and sad stories of poetry: Miklos Radnoti. The first few graphs of Camille Martin's loverly post are below.

November 10 marked the sixty-fifth anniversary of the murder of Miklós Radnóti, a Jewish Hungarian poet killed by Hungarian Nazi collaborators during a three-month death march and buried in a mass grave. A year and a half later, when his wife, Fanny, located and exhumed his body, a notebook of his poems was found in his coat pocket. Radnóti had continued to write poetry during his internment in various work camps, his slave labour in a copper mine, and his forced march across his native Hungary, bearing witness to the horrors to which he ultimately succumbed.


As a tribute to him, I’m reproducing six of his poems below. The first is an eclogue, which is an ancient pastoral poem in the form of a dialogue between shepherds. Radnóti’s eclogue imagines a dialogue between an unlikely pair—a fighter pilot and a poet—that reveals his deep concern with human empathy.

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