Author's page

Biography

1953 born in Marosvásárhely (Romania)
receives a teacher's diploma in Hungarian and Russian at the Transylvanian University of Kolozsvár
1976 Editor of the newspaper Igazság (Truth) in Kolozsvár; Editor of the student's journal Echinox; literary programme manager
1979-80 receives Herder Grant; Editor of the samizdat journal Ellenpontok (Counterpoints)
1986 immigrates to Switzerland because of constant political persecution
1989-90 leader of the Budapest office of Radio Free Europe
1990 after the Revolution returns to Transylvania; member of the Senate, Secretary General of the party RMDSZ (Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania)
1992 President of the Erdélyi Híradó (Transylvanian News) Ltd. that intends to revive old publishing traditions

Awards
1976 Romanian Writers’ Association’s Debut Award
1979-80 Herder Grant (Vienna)
1986 Graves Award
1986 Milán Füst Award
1992 Book of the Year Award
1992 Tibor Déry Award
1993 Gábor Bethlen Award
1993 Attila József Attila Award
2003 Literary Presence Poetry Award

The Puppet Thrown to the Winds
1986

A szélnek eresztett bábu (The Puppet Thrown to the Winds), 1986 The book includes the material of Szőcs’s first three volumes of poems (Te mentél át a vízen? – Was that You Crossing the Water?; Kilátótorony és környéke – Lookout Tower and its Surroundings;, Párbaj, avagy a huszonharmadik hóhullás – Duel, or the 23rd Snowfall) and the new poems written since the completion of the three. „The following texts” begins the first poem of the volume „are not poems: they are more and less than poems. Their form is prose cut up in lines of the same number of syllables. Their imperfect structure is not intentional; it springs from the lack of experience of the author’s versification.” (The Eye of the World Falcon) The next poem, however, is a perfectly made sonnet – no wonder, then, that the reader will follow with great interest the conjurer’s hand of the poet, who plays with rhymes and rhythm with pleasure. The play, which is at once deadly serious and ironic, does not end here: ancient myths and modern notions are mixed in the strange and complex world of Géza Szőcs, who has to be carefully inquisitive even with the notion of his own personality: “O no, Géza Szőcs has exchanged his soul for mine, / and now I don’t even know my name” (Sz. G.) The poet, who was quite young at the time, was rightly considered the follower of the great tradition of the Hungarian literature of Transylvania (Domokos Szilágyi, Gizella Hervay, Aladár Lászlóffy, Zsigmond Palocsay, Zsófia Balla), using innovative images and rhythms. He is interested in everything from astrophysics to everyday trivialities, but his main concern is the following: What is poetry? „Poetry is the memory of the language: it shows how language stretches back under the heavens of ancient knowledge.” This poetry unites tradition with innovation as the beginning of a new tradition, and has intentionally preserved a kind of special Transylvanian atmosphere. Towards the end of the book there are many memorable political poems that recall an age of dictatorship that was still reigning at the time and which will never be forgotten; he writes about state security agents supervising and observing ordinary citizens, and the bitterness of his own exile. In the last poem of the volume, he asks the “boys of Kolozsvár” to write about the things he couldn’t write about any more.

Histories from Under the Threshold
1990

Históriák a küszöb alól (Histories from Under the Threshold), 1990 The volume includes three plays: “Romeo and Juliet” is a surrealist drama built on original Shakespeare lines and built on the situation that Romeo is troubled by the duality of his real and literary character; a radio play of biblical theme but political edge, which “was prepared during the October of 1988 on the request of Radio Free Europe”; and a kind of film script describing the last meetings of Jesus and Peter, leaving open the question whether we see only Peter’s vision or a real miracle of the Saviour. As in life, the reader must decide for himself what to believe and what to think. The writer finds it important to point out in the authorial instruction that “if someone should find resemblances between the imaginary characters and real historical persons or places, we wish to make it clear that any such resemblance is unintentional. But, of course, it is not accidental either. We should say that these kind of resemblances, if any, are not intentional neither accidental, but inevitable.”

Hospitability or Sindbad in Marienbad
1992

A vendégszerető, avagy Szindbád Marienbadban (Hospitability or Sindbad in Marienbad), 1992 “Woe woe whi did we spoil our lives / woewoe whi did we become house-surchers / wie how bad it is to be a voyer / woe how bad eternal Thurst is / only watch others all the time (…) even they spit on us oh woe / our own ways cold have taken where / oh woe that our own lives cold be that we did not life …” (The House-Searcher’s Song) The book is a collection of the author’s earlier volumes. The subtitle is printed on the lower side of the title-page: “The Last Volume of Poems of G. Sz.” The book is a beautiful one, because it includes many drawings, prints, some photographs and the title-page of the author’s earlier volumes: Te mentél át a vizen? (Was that You Crossing the Water?) Kilátótorony és környéke (Lookout Tower and its Surroundings), Párbaj, avagy a huszonharmadik hóhullás (Together, or the 23rd Snowfall), A szélnek eresztett bábu (The Puppet Thrown to the Winds), Az uniformis látogatása (The Visit of the Uniform), A sirálybőr cipő (The Seagull-Skin Shoe), A vendégszerető (Hospitability). The author says in the volume, The Visit of Uniform, that he must deal with politics because at his age “to politicize means to deal with the inevitable everyday question of our lives.” “Szőcs’s childish, neo-primitive voice reflects a post-modern sensibility and eclecticism. Humorous grammatical games, puns, virtuosic wordplays, and mocking associations all serve to transcend and defeat the hidden fear, anxiety and shock which is lurking behind the surface everywhere. The ludicrous, deeply contemptuous treatment of the phenomena and servants of totalitarianism, such as the house-searchers or falsifiers of history, is the most annihilating weapon against them. The scenes and situations of everyday indoctrination, censorship, the bugging of telephones, persecution, imprisonment, physical and mental torture make his poetry political, but of a kind where the direct political meaning is conveyed with intellectual superiority.” (Csilla Bertha and Zoltán Bertha)

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