The Burning of the Books and Other Poems

George Szirtes (Author)
Available

Description

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 Fé". 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. Poetry Book Society Recommendation, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Product Details

Price
$17.95  $16.51
Publisher
Bloodaxe Books
Publish Date
September 24, 2009
Pages
102
Dimensions
6.1 X 9.0 X 0.4 inches | 0.45 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781852248420
BISAC Categories:

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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 Ottó Orbán, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and Ágnes Nemes Nagy. He co-edited Bloodaxe's Hungarian anthology The Colonnade of Teeth. His Bloodaxe poetry books include: 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), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009. Bad Machine (2013) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2013. His latest collection, Mapping the Delta (2016), was the Poetry Book Society Choice for Winter 2016. A new collection, Fresh Out of the Sky, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe in 2021. Bloodaxe has also published his Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures, Fortinbras at the Fishhouses: Responsibility, the Iron Curtain and the sense of history as knowledge (2010), and John Sears' critical study, Reading George Szirtes (2008). His memoir of his mother, The Photographer at Sixteen, was published by MacLehose Press in 2019. Szirtes lives in Norfolk and is a freelance writer, having retired from teaching at the University of East Anglia.