Kányádi, Sándor 1929-

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KÁNYÁDI, Sándor 1929-


Born 1929, in Galambfalva, Transylvania, Romania. Education: Attended Bólyai University (Romania).


Agent—c/o Twisted Spoon Press, P.O. Box 21, Preslova 12, Prague 5 150 21, Czech Republic.


Poet and translator. Has worked for various publications as editor.


Romanian Writers' Union poetry prize; Hungarian Kossuth prize; Austrian Herder prize; Central European Time Millennium prize, 2000.


Sirálytánc, Állami Irodalmi és Muvészeti Kiadó (Bukarest, Romania), 1957.

Kicsi legény, nagy tarisznya, Ifjúsági Könyvkiadó (Bukarest, Romania), 1961.

Harmat a csillagon: versek, Irodalmi Könyvkiadó(Bukarest, Romania), 1964.

Kikapcsolódás: versek, Irodalmi Könyvkiadó (Bukarest, Romania), 1966.

Függ oleges lovak: versek, Irodalmi Könyvkiadó (Bukarest, Romania), 1968.

A bánatos királylány kútja: versek, mesék, toörténetek, Kriterion (Bukarest, Romania), 1972.

Fától fáig: versek, 1955-1970, Kriterion (Bukarest, Romania), 1972.

Kányádi Sándor legszebb versei, Albatrosz (Bukarest, Romania), 1977.

Egy kis madárka ül vala: erdélyi száxa népköltészet, Kriterion (Bukarest, Romania), 1977.

Szürkület: versek, 1970-1977, Kriterion (Bukarest, Romania), 1978.

Fekete-piros versek, Magvet (Budapest, Hungary), 1979.

Farkas uz o furulya: mesék, versek, történetek, Móra (Budapest, Hungary), 1979.

Kenyérmadár: versek, mesëk, történetek, Kriteriion (Bukarest, Romania), 1980.

Tavaszi tarisznya, Móra (Budapest, Hungary), 1982.

Madármarasztaló: versek, Kicsiknek, nagyoknak, Kriterion (Bukarest, Romania), 1986.

Sörény és koponya: új versek, Csokonai Kiadó Vállalat (Debrecen, Hungary), 1989.

Valaki jár a fák hegyén, Magyar Könyvklub (Budapest, Hungary), 1997.

Talpas történetek és a kiváncsi hold, Pallas-Akadémia (Csikszereda, Romania), 1997.

Talpas történetek, Holnap (Budapest, Hungary), 1999.

Csipkebokor az alkonyatban, Magyar Konyvklub (Budapest, Hungary), 1999.

Szitaköt o tánca, General Press (Budapest, Hungary), 1999.

45 Poems, translated by Istvá Falusi, Maecenas (Budapest, Hungary), 1999.

Küküll o kalendárium, Pallas-Akadémia (Csikszereda, Romania), 2001.

Meddig ér a rigófütty, Cartaphilus (Budapest, Hungary), 2001.

Dancing Embers, translated by Paul Sohar, Twisted Spoon (Prague, Czech Republic), 2002.

Ambrus the Bear and the Curious Moon, Holnap (Budapest, Hungary), 2003.


Sándor Kányádi was born in a small Transylvanian village to a Hungarian family of farmers. He was sent to Bolyai University in Romania where he earned a degree in Hungarian philology and gained a love of poetry. His first poem was published in 1955, and in the almost fifty years that he has been writing, he has earned many prestigious awards. His relationship with poetry, however, goes beyond writing it. He also spends much of his time traveling to local schools reciting his poetry, as well as other Hungarian classics, from memory. Yet Kányádi's life has been a difficult one, and critic Ray Olson, for Booklist, wrote that this might be the reason that Kányádi's poetry is so "dour." Olson added that "Kányádi is as bleak as T. S. Eliot." Other critics have also made this comparison, noting in particular how similar Kányádi's poem, "All Soul's Day in Vienna" is to Eliot's "Wasteland."

Kányádi, whom many refer to as one of the greatest Hungarian poets, is the voice of the Hungarian minority in Romania, whose land was annexed to Romania after World War I and whose villages were later bulldozed by dictator Nicolai Ceausescu in an attempt at ethnic-cleansing. When Kányádi was young, despite the difficulties in his life, he was optimistic, as expressed in a review of his 1979 publication, Feketepiros versek. George Dömöri for World Literature Today wrote: "He started out as a starry-eyed regional poet whose optimism equaled his naïveté, manifesting itself in such lines as 'We only must have faith and/we shall reach up high to the glittering stars!'" Later in his life, Dömöri stated, Kányádi "suffered a series of setbacks which, however, helped the poet to mature." His poetry became "more elusive and allusive," and he was committed to telling the truth, "about himself and, by implication, about the difficult, often humiliating conditions in which his community has to survive."

Kányádi has remained in his homeland despite the challenges there and in spite of generous accommodations offered to him in Hungary. His goal is to preserve his language and culture in, what Travis Jeppesen, writing for Prague Pill online, described as an "often-hostile environment." In 2002 English-speaking readers were given a chance to explore Kányádi's work with the publication of Dancing Embers, the most comprehensive collection of Kányádi's works to be translated. The Eliot-like poem of "All Souls' Day in Vienna" can be found in this publication, as well as a representative body of work from the 1960s to the turn of the twenty-first century. There are poems that celebrate nature and poems that condemn the cruelties one person can inflict on another. In a selection called "Unadorned Songs," the poet reflects on the process of aging and death. In his more recent poems, written between 1990 and 2000, Kányádi offers, according to Lucy Mallows for the Budapest Sun, "meditations on the conflict between the violence of man and the serenity of nature."



Booklist October 15, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Dancing Embers, p. 380.

Budapest Sun, October 31, 2002, Lucy Mallows, review of Dancing Embers.

World Literature Today, winter, 1981, George Gömöri, review of Feket-piros versek, pp. 148-149.


Prague Pill,http://Prague.tv/pill (January 23, 2003), Travis Jeppesen, review of Dancing Embers.*