Diverse, colourful Programmes for the Day of Hungarian Poetry

The Hungarian Cultural Centre (HCC) offered a whole weekend of programmes for the Day of Hungarian Poetry. Held on the birthday of famed Hungarian poet Attila József, the event has been going since 1964 and brings young and old together to celebrate the inspiring achievements of the country’s greatest literary geniuses.

Attila József, one of the greatest Hungarian poets, was born in 1905 in Budapest. Although his first poems were published when he was just a teenager, real fame only came after his tragic death. Some of his poems reflected the influence of French surrealism and other notable Hungarian poets of the time, such as Endre Ady, Gyula Juhász and Lajos Kassák.

Sadly, he passed away not long after celebrating his 32rd birthday with the following poem:


To end my thirty-second year
I wrote myself a souvenir –
a pretty

a quick impromptu memoir
saluting in this coffee-bar
my birth
on earth.

Thirty-two years... Without a doubt
what Hungary has doled me out
was not
a lot.

I could have been a teacher, but
I wear my pencils to the butt
for just
a crust,

for I was sent down from Szeged
by the provost, that egg-headed
old so
and so

who picked on my ’With a Pure Heart’ –
To save the nation from my art
he barred
the bard

and drew his sword against my kind.
His words deserve to be enshrined
to shame
his name:

’Until I do give up the ghost
don’t dream of any teaching post’ –
I quote,

So what matter if I am banned
from Prof. A. Horger’s graduand

I’ll teach my people, one and all,
much greater things than what you call

On 9-10 April the HCC offered an exclusive screening of the movie “Bad poems”, in which 33-years old Tamás Merthner is heartbroken after his girlfriend Anna breaks up with him. While wallowing in self-pity, Tamás takes a trip down memory lane to figure out if love only exists when it's practically gone.

On 11 April, we invited our online followers for a fun quiz. Players answered questions about Hungarian poems and poets for a chance to win small prizes from the HCC.

On 12 April, celebrating not only Hungarian poetry but the opening of outdoor dining in England, we brought colour and culture to the streets of London. As the whole of Covent Garden was transformed into an open-air dining place, we turned our wall on Maiden Lane into a Post-it Poetry installation. Celebrating brilliant Hungarian poets with brilliant colours, we stamped some of the best pieces of Hungarian poetry on post-it notes to invite every passer-by to take home their favourite poem. The installation included works by Attila József, Endre Ady, Ágnes Nemes Nagy, János Arany, Bálint Balassi, and many more