The Anglo-Hungarian Poet Ferenc Békássy

A talk given by George Gömöri at the Hungarian Cultural Centre Ferenc Békássy was born into a family of old Hungarian nobility and educated in England, spending five years in Bedales School and four years in King’s College, Cambridge. He wrote poetry both in English and Hungarian and while his poems in English were included in the anthology Cambridge Poets 1900-1913, his poems in Hungarian were published only posthumously. Whilst at Cambridge Békássy was befriended by the economist John Maynard Keynes and with his recommendation became the first foreign member of the famous debating society ‘Apostles’. He and the English poet Rupert Brooke were rivals for the affection of Noel Olivier, whom Békássy had first met at Bedales. Tragically both Békássy and Brooke died in 1915 fighting on opposite sides during World War I. In both cases they wrote their last letter to Noel Olivier. Ferenc Békássy’s letters to Noel, translated into Hungarian were published by Aranymadár Publishers, Budapest, in 2013. George (György) Gömöri, Emeritus Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge, taught Polish and Hungarian Literature at Cambridge. He is a Hungarian-born poet and translator. In 1956 a university student at ELTE and already a published poet, he was a key figure in the organisation of the student march demanding reforms from the communist regime, which escalated into the Revolution. In November 1956 he left Hungary and became a graduate student at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Since then he has published over fifty books, including Polishing October, New and Selected Poems and Rózsalovaglás (Riding with Roses), his latest collection of poems in Hungarian in 2014 and a book of essays, A rejtőzködő Balassi (Balassi Hiding) also in October 2014. He is a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Science (Cracow) and has received numerous awards and prizes, the last one of which is the Janus Pannonius Prize for Translation at Pécs, Hungary. I0 Maiden Lane,Covent Garden, London WC2E 7NA on the 16 April at 7pm. Free but booking is required. Please call 020 7240 8448 or email bookings@hungary.org.uk

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