Author's page

( 1976 )

» I'll Pass On the Dog-lead (1997)
» Men (2005)


1976 born in Budapest
2000 graduates in English and Aesthetics from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
2001-2002 studies at Dartmouth College (New Hampshire, USA)
2000-2004 leads poetry translation seminars organised by the British Council
2004-2006 studies in London at the National Film School
2006-present president of the Young Writers' Association (JAK)

Major prizes:
1998 Zsigmond Móricz Scholarship; 2001-02 Fulbright Scholarship

I'll Pass On the Dog-lead

András Gerevich’s first book attracted attention due to its unique poetic voice. Almost without exception, the poems relate love affairs and a search for identity. The jacket notes, “The short poems in I’ll Pass On the Dog-lead are snapshots of emotions and sensations. Their unusual natural images, their pantheistic-erotic poetics play with borders: the boundaries of body and landscape, of you and I. It would be likewise difficult to outline who is talking here; we can read the book as a sort of love catalogue, with its recurring motives but changing characters, and also in a way that the five cycles should make up a biography, the wandering of an Odysseus-like figure, without reaching home....This volume is the record of a mature and promising start.” The scenes of the poems are many: a meadow, a riverbank, here and there in the city. These are poems of a journey, filled with birds and bugs. “An early squirrel” turns up in a simile. The title (a line from the first poem) is related to the animal as much as the man: here walking the dog, or the dog-lead, becomes a metaphor for a relationship. The dog itself stands for carnal desire: “Our dog is a strong beast.” Several motives in this volume, such as weakness and physical power, shame and suffering (“If only I could use my suffering sparingly”—“On Homeric Waters”), the interplay of male and female bodies (“Warm”; “Washes His Face”), gain an obvious explanation only in Gerevich’s second volume; here they remain elusive. “The crudeness of the poems and the harshness of the promising voice are striking.” -Győző Ferencz


Gerevich’s second book was his real public coming-out, a break with convention. His persona in Men takes on his sexual identity with a natural pride—one of the first in Hungarian poetry. He has no need to be demonstrative. The book opens with an agonizing poem of mourning; it is not only the grave topic but the disciplined tone, the many small details, the contrasts in emotions, and the vulnerability of the speaker, that make it a great poem. In the first cycle of the book, transforming heroes of Greek mythology (Teiresias, Hermaphrodites), and famous male-friends (Patrokhlos) speak in a contemporary voice and in modern interpretation; elsewhere personal relationships, sudden impressions, precise experiences and old memories turn up to gain new meaning. And, strangely (in the fourth cycle), there is a synchronous traveller’s experience, the autumn of 2001, spent in the US. The persona of the story witnesses the assault of 11th September in New York and records his thoughts two days later, “Is this how history is made, like in films?” The American cycle matches the general state of the outsider (“It is not bad to be a stranger in a strange land.”) András Gerevich’s second book is calmer, more mature than his first. It is more painful; yet he does let his sense of humour surface. “This book does not wish to provoke. It only wishes to be precise and factual. An unillusioned expression looks for a form, for a topic that makes the Hungarian public irritated most of the time. It talks admittedly about love between men, which—like love in general—is both heavenly and earthly.” -Szilárd Borbély “These poems avoid all irrelevant gestures, especially those that would stress their object—the fact that he accepts his identity. They can be characterised by a faultless sense of proportion, unusually able construction, an inornate mode of speech and a confident voice. He speaks so self-evidently that whatever he states becomes one with the way it is formed. Gerevich can do without the spectacular poetic solutions memory could cling to. He leaves his poetic devices unmarked, his language practically transparent.... [His] are seemingly understated lines, not even those of confession, only a dry stating of facts. But in the depths there is throbbing pain. This is in fact confessional poetry: writing is the means of building up the ego, and the process of building up the ego becomes poetry. There is a narrow borderline between writing and life. András Gerevich has formed great poetry from his steady homelessness and his emotional vulnerability.” -Győző Ferencz

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