Report WPM Hungary, 2021-23


Budapest, 18-03-2023.

National Coordinator in Hungary: Sándor Halmosi.

Warm greetings from Hungary to the European attendees of the conference, to all the guests from other continents, and, of course, to the members of the Co-ordination Committee.

The traditions of poetry and humanity in Hungary resonate with the vision of WPM on dozens of levels, that is why we were thrilled to join this significant movement. We believe in the power of poetry, the power to initiate, to shape the world; in the creative power of thought, and in the mission and enormous responsibility all poets have today, used to have before and will always have. It is fortunate therefore to have partners in crime, even on days when sharing the experience proves difficult to handle.

Basic Principles:

World Poetry Movement Hungary was founded barely over a year ago at the end of 2021. During the process I was driven by the objective to connect the Hungarian poets and organisations who keep their finger on the pulse of the world and who are open to translation with some similarly enthusiastic poets and organisations living and working in other countries, on other continents. Given the number of professional poets and literary associations all over the world this is far from being easy. To paraphrase our iconic poet Endre Ady, all we are is fancy servants, the poem – alongside with the reader, of course – is the real master.

The centre of my focus is and has been to create a synthesis; to bond following the principles that highlight what we share, rather than what divides us – and that would be poetry, making the world come together as one.

This is anything but trivial. Writers associations all over the world, and Hungary is no exception, tend to break into cliques based on differences in principles, whether aesthetic, social, ideological or political. My aim in the manifesto Ora Et Labora published in 2020 – please find attached – was to assess the situation from this aspect. I conclude pointing out that the intellectual crisis the world is in currently was partly caused by us, the literate crowd, therefore we bear a responsibility in fixing it.

I think it is very important that this organisation is a movement. It reflects the way poetry works: growing whilst being nurtured by what’s underneath (life forces) and above (light, fundamental principles). An intention that says no to the hierarchical structure; one that is sensitive to society and social issues but arches over everyday politics. Always free and independent, finding the meaning, shining through, lifting the routine, lifting the soul.

WPM Hungary is founded on the two most important pillars of WMP’s activity: co-ordinating events, and translation hand in hand with publication, respectively.

As WPM Hungary, we organised several events and participated in events co-ordinated by other groups:

  • International online conferences and book readings
  • The Earth Is Our Home (WPM, 2022)
  • Indigenous Peoples In Resistance (WPM, 2022)
  • ‘In Memoriam’ nights (e.g. remembering Jack Hirschman or Lawrence Ferlinghetti)
  • Days dedicated to literature (e.g. European Literature Night, New York, 2021)
  • Round Table conferences (Failing Global Ethics: The Writer’s Response, Bled, 2022)
  • Being published in over 30 anthologies from all around the world
  • International events and poetry festivals
  • Co-ordinating international literary festivals
  • Publishing anthologies (e.g. An Anthology Of Columbian Poets, 2022)
  • Translation (see below)
  • Publishing books (see below)
  • Meetups for poets, enabling and establishing professional networks
  • Staying in touch with poets and literary associations in over 50 countries
  • Trusting the power of publicity demonstrating solidarity with poets subject to persecution
  • Standing by peace (World Chain of Poems for Peace)
  • Condemning war and all extremist and aggressive movements in the world
  • Reaching out to young poets
  • Connecting different areas of art such as fine arts, music, literature
  • Out-Of-The-Box literature classes at public schools and universities
  • Workshops at public schools and universities
  • Professional networking
  • Making videos for the channel WPMPoetas
  • Maintaining a Facebook group and connecting with other WMP groups on Facebook
  • Encouraging literary organisations who are not yet members of World Poetry Movement to join

Translation and publication:

Translation, both ways, is one of our primary focusses. Translation is fundamental in approaching contemporary dialogue and world literature. So on the one hand we translate and publish collections of poems from other countries in Hungarian; and on the other we like to publish anthologies – thus letting the Hungarian reader get a taste of the contemporary fiction of different countries and regions. Last week, for example, we had a book launch for our brand new anthology of Columbian poets in the Cervantes Institute in Budapest.

Many a Hungarian reader is familiar with literary magazines, which is why our translations are heavily represented in them. It is an excellent platform to introduce authors from all over the world.

We are especially committed to book publishing. In a span of 3 years we have published the works of 35 different authors in cooperation with AB ART Publishing House, represented by Attila F. Balázs, as part of their world literature product lines such as Lyra Omnis, Prosa Omnis.

What’s next?

As the present conference gives us an excellent opportunity to get to know each other a little we would like to encourage the organisers to please turn this habit into a tradition. We would be thrilled to keep in touch not only through real time meetups but also online. Remember, poetry is the piece of litmus paper of society. We need poetry, alive and kicking, to stand a chance to stay alert, to survive, to live.

Finally, I have a personal message, too:

The point is to be poetically, not politically correct.

Other than that –

You work, you love.
It’s simple.
We’ll get there anyway.
There, under the light
Onto that spacious field. All of us.