bs:#99 Marton Koppany

In bookshelves i send out an invitation to someone for presenting his/her favorite bookshelf or writer. To let them explain their choice or let the shelf speak for itself. Bookshelves is concerned with collecting, collections and the sincere love for books. In bookshelves nodig ik iemand uit om zijn/haar favoriete boekenplank of schrijver te tonen. Om iets over hun keuze te vertellen of de plank te laten “spreken”. Bookshelves gaat over verzamelen, collecties en de oprechte liefde voor boeken. Today/Vandaag bookshelves: # 99 Marton Koppany

Marton Koppany is visual poet and intermedia artist from Hungary

bs#99-cabinet“I am a visual poet and intermedia artist. Since the early 80’s I’ve published mostly abroad, and started using English (a broken and reduced version of it) instead of Hungarian in my works. Simultaneously, my reading habits have changed as well: today I spend much more time reading in English and less time reading in Hungarian.

What is a home library good for? I can 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 a shortlist.

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.

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.)

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.)

bs#99-shelfRobert Lax: New Poems 1962/1985

Fluxus etc., The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection

(especially: George Brecht and his events!)

Bern Porter: Found Poems

picture no. 1: fragment from a distance 

picture no. 2: a few favorites, with Kitasono Katue in the center”


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