So we kept marching.
The road Swung beneath our feet.
There was sun and space.
The sharp air cut deep wrinkles in each face.
It was easy carrying the load We had been made to bear,
Harder to breathe that air.
Rabbit, stoat, fieldmouse, acres of churned
Earth and heavy boots.
The sky Washed clean for ever
Beside canal, ditch and river.
The fields are black with burned
Stubble, only our mouths are dry
George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He was brought up in London and studied Fine Art in London and Leeds. His poems began appearing in national magazines in 1973 and his first book, The Slant Door, was published in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial prize the following year.
By this time he was married with two children. After the publication of his second book, November and May, 1982, he was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Since then he has published several books and won various other prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel in 2005.
Having returned to his birthplace, Budapest, for the first time in 1984, he has also worked extensively as a translator of poems, novels, plays and essays and has won various prizes and awards in this sphere. His own work has been translated into numerous languages.
Beside his work in poetry and translation he has written Exercise of Power, a study of the artist Ana Maria Pacheco, and, together with Penelope Lively, edited New Writing 10 published by Picador in 2001.
George Szirtes lives near Norwich with his wife, the painter Clarissa Upchurch to whose website this is linked. Together they ran The Starwheel Press. Corvina has recently produced Budapest: Image, Poem, Film, their collaboration in poetry and visual work.
There is a variety of old and new poems to be found on this site. Apart from the regularly replaced poem on the home page, there is a regularly maintained Blog in the News section, and some stray notes and photographs in Notes. Poems and excerpts from published books (as well as selected reviews) may be located by clicking on specific books in the Books section. There is also an audio sample available among the Links.