11 April is the Day of Hungarian Poetry. József Attila, the famous Hungarian poet, was born on this day in 1905, and it has been the Day of Hungarian Poetry since 1964.
Last year Iain Lindsay, British Ambassador to Hungary, surprised the world on 11 April by reading one of Attila József’s poems in Hungarian. 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 his poems, and several other poets’ works are also introduced.
József Attila is one of the most significant figures of Hungarian literature; he not only wrote poems, but also spoke several foreign languages such as French and German. His Villon translations are remarkable. József Attila 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 led 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.
“– Azt akartam kifejezni, hogy itt vagyok és kicsit beszélek magyarul. Ezért áprilisban, a költészet napján természetesnek éreztem, hogy magyar verset mondok a közösségi portálon: József Attila Tavasz van! Gyönyörű! című költeményét.” – mondta el Iain Lindsay magyarul egy interjúban.