Szilárd Borbély, one of the most celebrated writers to emerge from post-Communist Hungary, received numerous literary awards in his native country. In this volume, acclaimed translator Ottilie Mulzet reveals the full range and force of Borbély’s verse by bringing together generous selections from his last two books, Final Matters and To the Body. The original Hungarian text is set on pages facing the English translations, and the book also features an afterword by Mulzet that places the poems in literary, historical, and biographical context.
Restless, curious, learned, and alert, Borbély weaves into his work an unlikely mix of Hungarian folk songs, Christian and Jewish hymns, classical myths, police reports, and unsettling accounts of abortions. In her afterword, Mulzet calls this collection “a blasphemous and fragmentary prayer book … that challenges us to rethink the boundaries of victimhood, culpability, and our own religious and cultural definitions.”