Untitled Document
George Szirtes Home

Photo by Caroline Forbes

Mony Mony

When Mony Mony starts up the room stops
whatever itís doing and begins to frame
something it needs to say. The music is a game
it learns then forgets. Temperature drops
inside it as if time were running backwards
to where Tommy James falls through a trapdoor
of memory and disappears through floor after floor
till he ends up here with these notes and these words.
The Shondells tremble with electricity. Drums
generate invisible bodies in the dark
holding a grey diffuse space and charging all
of it. Here she comes now. Here is the spark
that passes between them. Here are the magical
ingredients: death, fury, yearning. Here she comes.

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year.

By this time he was married with two children. After the publication of his second book, November and May, 1982, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005.

Having returned to his birthplace, Budapest, for the first time in 1984, he has also worked extensively as a translator of poems, novels, plays and essays and has won various prizes and awards in this sphere. His own work has been translated into numerous languages.

Beside his work in poetry and translation he has written Exercise of Power, a study of the artist Ana Maria Pacheco, and, together with Penelope Lively, edited New Writing 10 published by Picador in 2001.

George Szirtes lives near Norwich with his wife, the painter Clarissa Upchurch to whose website this is linked. Together they ran The Starwheel Press. Corvina has recently produced Budapest: Image, Poem, Film, their collaboration in poetry and visual work.

There is a variety of old and new poems to be found on this site. Apart from the regularly replaced poem on the home page, there is a regularly maintained Blog in the News section, and some stray notes and photographs in Notes. Poems and excerpts from published books (as well as selected reviews) may be located by clicking on specific books in the Books section. There is also an audio sample available among the Links.

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