Book Review for They’ll Be Good For Seed:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume X Issue IV


“Every language has its food, its poetry”

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: They’ll Be Good For Seed

Authors: Janos Afra, Johanna Domokos, Gabor G. Gyukics, Attila Jasz, Denes Krusovszky, Gabor Lanczkor,
Julia Lazar, Monika Mesterhazi, Zita Muranyi, Zsuka Nagy, Mario Z. Nemes, Anna T. Szabo, Sandor Tator,
Janos Térey, Krisztina Toth, Szabina Ughy

Translators: Michael Castro, Gabor G. Gyukics, Terri Carrion, Jan Garden Castro, Duncan Robertson, Tom Stolmar, Belinda Subraman

Publisher: White Pine Press

Date of Publication: 2021

Pages: 222

“Beautiful Danube, Beautiful Danube, clear and blue . . .”
- from On the Beautiful Blue Danube
by Johann Strauss (music), C.C. Haskins (lyrics)

“I’m going back someday
Come what may
To Blue Bayou . . .”
- from Blue Bayou
by Linda Ronstadt

A celebration of New Age Eastern European poetics, the spellbinding avante garde from Hungary, They’ll Be Good For Seed is an anthology Edited by poet Gabor G. Gyukics. Gyukics is a well-known icon of the poetic milieu in Hungary and internationally, a poet and literary translator, he has translated 16 major works, and written eleven original books of poetry. He established the first reading series in Hungary, (2000) and has been awarded by the National Beat Poetry Foundation U.S.A. This work is originally in Hungarian and is expertly translated by Gabor G. Gyukics, Terri Carrion, Jan Garden Castro, Duncan Robertson, Tom Stolmar, Belinda Subraman. Also included is the excellent translator Michael Castro, one of his last translation projects. Literary translations are palettes of words that reconstruct the poem in a different language for a pleasing aesthetic, a reinvented poetics. As such, the essence of the Hungarian Eastern European through the conflicted political past, the folk tales and songs, the poetry, the influence of Soviet and the West is evocative of the Muse, a study in freedom poetics.

Like the delicate weave of mists in time through the dark of orange and green kitchens, rural and city, this poetry is original and cutting edge. Throughout history, Hungary has a conflicted political past that affects the literary scene. The country and language became in 1,000 B.C., folktales and folk songs were passed down through oral tradition. Early texts are written in Latin, 11th-14th centuries, there are no surviving texts before pre-11th century. In 1526 Hungary was overrun by the Ottoman Empire. There is a rich legacy in Poets through the 15th century to the Enlightenment, including Janus Pannonius, Balinet Balassi, Sebestyn Tinodi Lantos, Miklos Zrinyi. Balassi wrote poetry on the themes of love, war and religion, his most famous work Peril of Sziget, influenced by the writing of Homer’s, The Iliad, told the story of the Battle of Szigetvar where his grandfather was killed defending Szigetvar castle. During the Enlightenment language reform was introduced and many words were reinvented as Hungarian. All literature, novels, plays, prose, poetry flowered in the 20th century with the inception of the popular literary journal “Nyugat” (The West). Before 1918 there was a conservative nationalist group of writers that included Dezso Szabo who wrote Az elsodort falu (The Village That Was Swept Away) featuring themes of anti-war sentiment and romanticized the peasantry. With World War I, years of revolution followed with frontier changes placing large populations of Hungarians in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania. A new avante garde school of writers rose to prominence, poets Lorinc Szabo, Attila Jozesf, (themes of alienation, Socialist ideas, and the subconscious), Gyula Illyes (inspired by the peasantry), and the novel became popularized. In 1945 Socialist Realism, a communist mandate that enforced writing that put a positive face on the new politic came to the fore. There was a history of forced labour camps for dissidents. An uprising failed in 1956 and some from the writing community were imprisoned. Government restrictions on culture were lifted in the 1960s and the literary community flowered. Political changes in 1989 brought the West in with Free Verse, the Symbolists, slam poetry, eco-conscious Imagist influences, a certain Hungarian-Futurism, the 21st century poets were presented “as the first generation “after the end of history.”” Major post-modern Hungarian writers include Sandor Weores, Janos Pilinszky, Agnes Nemes Nagy, Zsuzsa Beney, Otto Orban, Gyorgy Petri, Szabolcs Varady, Krisztina Toth, amongst others.

They’ll Be Good For Seed. This poetry flowers and is evocative of the dark and profound, when very haunted reminds This Writer of the Hungarian version of steampunk, a sophisticated play on the New Goth. Often surrealist, weaving dark and light mythos in nightmare dreamscapes, reality spinning into and out of the overcast day, this poetry lives inside Spiritualism and mystery. Themes of love, broken bed rites and death with neoclassical images, angels and eco-conscious imagery paint a dark Eastern European story that dances, often in sardonica. The poet, someone alone in a room, spinning self-conversations, observations, nightmares, creativity, the Holy Spirit inside the Muse as Oracle, a butterfly playing in the flame of a lit candle.

Zsuka Nagy – The world as a neo-classical nightmare, details of reality, a certain darkness, a certain poverty juxtaposed with zinfrude, a love story, an Eastern European New Goth. Sardonic and surreal. Masterful, highly evocative of the place and time.

From “bike path two”

“old women wait at an abandoned railway station, kitchen garden herbs in
               their sacks
looking frightened by the world, asking for help in adjusting the sacks on
               their backs

the countryside lives by habitual motion, people help and kill with the same                gesture sometimes they don’t ask for sausage or challah but murder”

Krisztina Toth – Storyland poetry, of broken bedrite, dark, profound, sometimes surreal yet inside the weave of angels. The love poetry, “Tourist”, “Talking” reaches original spires. There is the touching story of her father dying of cancer, weeding the garden, “They’ll Be Good for Seed” from which the title of this anthology is taken.

Zita Muranyi – Of neoclassical nature images that fuse with broken bed rite, of great darkness and light, the poetry paints pictures. “That Boy” is a portrait of a street person who she gives a Coke, a love story in broken thought train with a surprise surreal twist in the last line. A fantastique.

Johanna Domokos – Fantastical fantasia, a Muse of great beauty, the wild and bijoux, perhaps a dialectic with an ex-lover, the poetry is truncated, surreal and profound.

“blooming and decomposing moments absorb inside me,
touch, and my face shares in everything blooming decomposing,
absorbing inside me to recognize why I came to the intersecting lines
of something to make me believe
pain can turn to joy
what makes a difference inside my body
now when the river must be crossed . . .”

Gabor G. Gyukics – A progression in Beat, dark, surreal, a profound weave of a New Age brilliance. “creating your own music” features nature images in a fantastical old world story, a myth of thunder and music in original poetics.

Anna T. Szabo – A Beat progression, sardonic, violent, and profound, gender politics, a study in out of place, outside time.

Attila Jasz – Experential and spinning into fantasia, sometimes dark, often of the light, sometimes sardonic. As if short scenes from a day in the life, a little truncated and mysterious.

Janos Afra – Profound and dark Imagism suggesting mystery religion. A hidden violence, perhaps a study in silence.

Mario Z. Nemes – Hungarian Gothic horror poetics. Dark stories, sardonic and profound as if haunted fairy tales.

Monika Mesterhazi – New Age poetics featuring conflicted conversations in love, surrealist nightmares. Dreamscapes as if scenes in a play.

Julia Lazar – Neoclassical imagery, a study in light and dark mythos, suggesting “what does it mean to remember, to forget?”, perhaps a hidden violence.

Gabor Lanczkor – A haunted dream in New Age poetics, surreal featuring a death theme, conflicted, themes of lost and found, what is in hand, what is out of hand, perhaps a hidden dialectic.

Denes Krusovszki – Dark and surreal featuring conflicted narratives about lovers, bangs with hidden violence.

Sandor Tatar – New Age poetics, surrealist and horror, featuring positive and negative mythos. Stark reality juxtaposed with nature imagery, spinning the dual nature of existence.

Szabina Ughy – This New Age poetry breathes inside the beauty of the Muse and the Spiritus, nature imagery, profound, an idea of mystery, painting great light, the pulse of life.

Janos Terey – A hidden violence, an idea of poverty, of conflicted bed rites, profound, a surrealist haunting, of the New Age.

A beautiful presentation in time and place, a truthtelling, this poetry flowers past the demons of territorial take overs, wars and the imprisonment of writers as dissidents in labour camps after the Second World War. Dark and profound, neoclassical and avante garde, quintessentially literature of the Hungarian landscape. A brilliant celebration of the Muse in New Age poetics, They’ll Be Good for Seed by Gabor G. Gyukics and friends.

Available @, Indigo, Target.

Subterranean Blue Poetry

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