Eileen R. Tabios is a poet working in multiple genres and in-between. She also loves books by writing, reading, publishing, critiquing, romancing and advocating for them. This blog will feature her bibliophilic activities with posts on current book engagements and links to her books and projects related to books.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


[If interested in participating in this series, "What Do You Re-Read?" please go HERE for more information. We welcome your participation.]

Marton Koppany Re-Reads!

1) What books and/or authors do you re-read?
2) Optional:  Please provide comments on your answer.

Pilinszky, Kafka and Pessoa

I like to reread my old companions from time to time. They, together, are the only tradition I can relate to, and I accept its eventuality too. What follows is my shortlist. I didn’t add anything that I haven’t been rereading and opening again and again for a relatively long time. And because I started learning English at thirty, and reading linguistically challenging modern and contemporary poetry in English only 15 years ago or so, my list in that field is very limited and doesn’t reflect my present interests. I need more time to become a real re-reader of, say, George Oppen, who I like more and more and whose poetry I am happy to read in the original now…

Franz Kafka: The Trial
In my elementary school there was a boy who liked to boast of having read Egri Csillagok (a very popular juvenile book in the last century) more than ten times. I can’t compete with him but I’ve read The Trial (and "lost" it soon – because it is so immune from abstractions) at least five or six times and I would open it frequently between two close readings too. I need it all the time. And it sounds more and more hymnic. I am always amazed how much it is not "kafkaesque" at all.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones; compiled by Paul Reps
I came across the distorted cartoons of three Zen koans almost 40 years ago in a state sponsored Marxist magazine of social sciences. It was really a chanche event. A few years later I stared reading koans and related stuff (first in French) and I still do. The Gateless Gate in Reps’s book was among the first collections that I got familiar with and I still open it frequently.

The Diamond Sutra, translated and explained by Edward Conze, in Buddhist Wisdom Books

Shobogenzo, Zen essays by Dogen, translated by Thomas Cleary

Gershom Scholem: The Messianic Idea in Judaism and Other Essays on Jewish Spirituality

Books by three incomparable Hungarian poets that are always with me:
Dezso Tandori: Toredek Hamletnek
Janos Pilinszky: Nagyvarosi ikonok
Erno Szep: Jarok-kelek, megallok
(Erno Szep was rediscovered by Tandori, so I’m especially indebted to DT.)

Sophocles: Philoctetes
Sophocles: Antigone
Sophocles: Oedipus The King

Corneille: Le Cid

Moliere: Le Misanthrope

Heinrich von Kleist: The Prince of Homburg

Bertold Brecht: Fear and Misery of The Third Reich

Fernando Pessoa: Selected Poems
(He was published first in 1969 in the excellent translation of Gyorgy Somlyo. How lucky I was to get it at 16. He became the "hero” of my youth – and nothing has changed since then.)

Cavafy Selected

Rilke Selected
(I read literature only in French and in English besides Hungarian, therefore I’m extremely grateful for the rich and high level translation literature of my country. All my favorite Rilke poems exist in several translations.)

Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment
(I’ve read it at least four times: it is a close second to The Trial. :-)

Tolstoy: Anna Karenina

Camus: Exile and The Kingdom

Ernest Becker: The Denial of Death

Rober Lax: New Poems 1962/1985

Fluxus etc., The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection
(especially: George Brecht and his events!)

Bern Porter: Found Poems 

3)  Please provide a list of your books (including chaps) and links, if any.  Books can be written or edited.  (This detail is to provide some info about the responder.)

It is funny to add my own titles of "visual poetry" and "language art" to my notes, but that is what I was meant to do. This is the first (and probably the last) case in my life that I'll be able to dream myself, publicly, in Corneille’s company – so why not enjoy myself. :-)

Translation (from Koppany's book, Modulations)

Marton Koppany’s Books in print:
Immortality and Freedom, Little Critic Pamphlets, Coracle Press, London, 1991.

The Other Side, self-published in 20 copies, Budapest, 1995.
(Distributed by Printed Matter, New York.)

To Be Or   To Be,  Runaway Spoon Press, Port Charlotte, Florida, 1996.

It Is The Same, Supplemental Series, LVNG, Chicago, 1997.

The Other Side, Kalligram Publishing House, Bratislava, 1999.

Investigations & Other Sequences, Ahadada Press, Toronto-Tokyo, 2003

Study, eIghT-pAGE pREss, Puhos, Finland, 2006.

Endgames, Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2008:

this is visual poetry, chapbookpublisher.com, Kingston, Pennsylvania, 2010:

Modulations, Otoliths, 2010:

The Reader, Runaway Spoon Press, Port Charlotte, Florida, 2012.

Addenda, Otoliths, 2012:

Marton Koppany's E-books:
Waves, Eratio, New York, 2008:

A Motion, cPress, Finland, 2011:

A Book ofQuestion (mark)s, 2013, self-published, online on SCRIBD

Hungarian LangArt, Eratio, New York, due in January, 2014

Marton Koppany's Collaborative books:
From The Annual Records of The Cloud Appreciation Society, collaborated with Nico Vassilakis, Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2008:

Short Movies, collaborated with  Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, cPress, Puhos, Finland, 2008.
The animated version of the book is online:

Book of Numbers, collaborated with Jim Leftwich, Luna Bisonte Prods, Columbus, OH, 2011.

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