Csenger Kertai (b. 1995) is a Hungarian poet and the author of two poetry collections, Mindig kivirágzik (Budapest: Napkút Kiadó, 2019) and Hogy nekem jó legyen (Budapest: Napkút Kiadó, 2021). He studies aesthetics and Hungarian literature at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. Since 2019 he has served as an editor of the arts journal Új Forrás, where he helped create a column featuring young writers. Five poems from his second collection have been set to music and song by Hungarian musicians. Two of his poems, in Diana Senechal's English translation, appear in the January 2022 issue of Asymptote; two more, “Lake Balaton” and “On Forsakenness,” appear in Literary Imagination; another two, “Constant Slashing” and "Mercy," appear in Issue 14.2 of Literary Matters; and another two were published in the Spring 2022 issue of Modern Poetry in Translation.
Watch this video of Csenger Kertai and the Hász Eszter Quintet at the A38 Hajó.
Cz.K. Sebő is a songwriter and musician who builds on American folk traditions. After years of solo playing, he has recently begun recording and performing with a band (Soma Bradák on drums and Benedek Szabó on bass); the trio’s concerts have a unique, personal atmosphere. Sebő, also a guitarist and singer in the band Platon Karataev, writes mostly melancholic, dreamy songs, whose main themes are the experience of passing away, the insignificance of existence, and the infinity of the inner world. His EPs and singles are available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and elsewhere; on December 9, 2021, he and his band released their first LP, How could I show you the beauty of a life in vain?. For more about him in English, go here, here, and here.
Watch these videos of Cz.K. Sebő in solo concert at the A38 Hajó.
Gergely Balla is a founding member and the primary lyricist of Platon Karataev. The band was founded in 2016; over time, the band’s acoustic leanings have given way to a larger and grander sound. With its songs, the band revolves around the core of existence, seeking to speak in the most personal way about the most universal questions. Their 2020 Atoms album was followed in January 2022 with their first Hungarian-language album, Partért kiáltó (Crying for the Coast or Shouting for Shore). The lyrics draw richly from Hungarian and world literature, carrying influences of Hamvas, Weöres, and Pilinszky, along with Shakespeare, Rumi, Kundera, Hesse, Pessoa, and many others.
Watch the Platon Karataev documentary Nyílnak befelé ablakok, directed by Zsófi Szász and released by 444. This video has optional English subtitles on YouTube.
The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW) seeks to promote excellence in literary criticism and scholarship, and works to ensure that literature thrives in both scholarly and creative environments. We encourage the reading and writing of literature, criticism, and scholarship, as well as wide-ranging discussions among those committed to the reading and study of literary works. For more information, see the ALSCW website. Ernest Suarez, the Executive Director of the ALSCW, who will be handling the Zoom aspects of the event, has just released a book with Mike Mattison titled Poetic Song Verse: Blues-Based Popular Music and Poetry.
Diana Senechal is the 2011 winner of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities and the author of two books of nonfiction, Republic of Noise (2012) and Mind over Memes (2018), as well as numerous poems, stories, essays, and translations. Since 2017 she has been living and teaching in Szolnok, Hungary; she has served on the ALSCW Council since 2013. Her translation of Gyula Jenei's poetry collection Mindig más (Always Different) will be published by Deep Vellum in April 2022; she is now translating Sándor Jászberényi's third story collection, A varjúkirály (King of the Crows) and Csenger Kertai's second poetry collection, Hogy nekem jó legyen (For My Good). She is excited and honored to be hosting this event. (Update: Her essay on Cz.K. Sebő's album was published online in The Continental Literary Magazine.)