Iain Lindsay, British Ambassador to Hungary, surprised the world on 11 April, which is the National Poetry Day in Hungary, by reading one of Attila József’s poems, mno.hu writes.

Hungary celebrates the National Poetry day on 11 April since 1964. The date is important, because it’s the birthday of Attila József, one of the best Hungarian poets in the 20th century. The day is celebrated all around the country, and several events are organized to commemorate the poet’s achievements. Many reading circles invite poets and students to recite the poems, and several other poets’ works are also introduced.

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Attila József is one of the most significant figures of Hungarian literature; he not only wrote poems, but was well acquainted with several foreign languages such as French and German, and his Villon translations are also remarkable. József had a short and tragic life; during his 32 years he often suffered atrocities, he was expelled from university because of one of his poems, he suffered from depression, and was also unfortunate in love. These and several other factors lead to a nervous breakdown, and later to his death; it’s still unclear if he committed suicide or died in a tragic accident.

Iain Lindsay is reading the poet’s “Tavasz van! Gyönyörű” (It’s spring! Beautiful!) in Hungarian in the video, which you can watch here:

Also, deputy ambassador Theresa Bubbear read another Attila József poem last year. Here’s the video.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons Andrew69.

Videos: Youtube/UK in Hungary and Youtube/Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Copy editor: bm

Source: mno.hu

  1. Bravo Mr. AMBASSADOR, I have to admire the way you honor us, a true gentleman that you are.

  2. Wonderful. I noticed a new freedom in your Hungarian here. And unprepared I understood the first two words in spite of their being only passive and new in my inner lexicon. Joszef is the only Hungarian poet I have heard of; his rhythms remind me of Pasternak and Baratashvili. Poetry seems difficult but it is good to be reminded that the best linguistic journey is from the difficult to the simple. I would love to hear you read Sorley MacLean, or Heaney, or anyone. I am going straight now to see the text of this. Thank you, Martin Smith

  3. You certainly have a gift of learning this language which I so love as it is my heritage. Itt tanulok a Clevelandban miért szeretem ezt a nyelvet.

  4. Mr Lindsey just does not stop with the surprises. What a great gentleman he is, truly remarkable !

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