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George Szirtes Biography

(1948– ), The Slant Door, November and May, Short Wave, The Photographer in Winter, Metro, Bridge Passages

poet art verse family

British poet, born in Budapest, Hungary; his family came to London after the uprising of 1956. He studied fine art at Leeds College of Art, where Martin Bell encouraged him in his early work as a poet. After working as an art teacher in various schools and colleges, he became a freelance writer in 1987. In addition to his considerable reputation as a poet, he is highly regarded as a graphic artist and has exhibited his work widely. With his wife Clarissa Upchurch, he runs the Starwheel Press, which specializes in finely illustrated limited editions of verse. His first full collection of poetry, The Slant Door (1979), was followed by subsequent publications including November and May (1981), Short Wave (1983), The Photographer in Winter (1986), Metro (1988), Bridge Passages (1991), and Blind Field (1994). His verse is characterized by the striking precision and clarity of its imagery and the originality and assurance of his use of rhyme and metre. His later collections reveal his intense imaginative concern with modern European history and its effects on his immediate family. His many translations of Hungarian poetry include Imre Madách's The Tragedy of Man (1988), and poems by Zsuzsa Rakovsky in New Life (1994).

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