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Wed, 30 Jul 2014 07:44:53 EDT by admin, 69618 views
Language and Literature paper by Sohar, Paul (all papers)
Sándor Kányádi: The Champion of Szekler Survival
This talk concentrates on one aspect of the celebrated poet’s oeuvre, his ongoing struggle for the right of minority cultures to assert themselves against oppressive national powers and now, increasingly, against the tidal waves of globalization.
After WW I the Hungarian community of Transylvania became isolated and subject to efforts to submerge it in the dominant nation state of Romania, especially under the Ceausescu regime. Its very survival became precarious when Hungarian schools and institutions of higher learning were closed; an ethnic group cannot maintain itself without its language. Hungarian poets and writers became beacons in the fight for the preservation of Hungarian identity. Among them perhaps Sándor Kányádi has been the most effective, not only because of his strong personal commitment to the cause, but also because he realized from the beginning that the key to Szekler survival lay in peaceful coexistence and finding a common ground with the dominant Romanian culture. He started his career by befriending and translating the contemporary Romanian poets, including the aging Arghezi, the founder of modern Romanian poetry. In addition, he waged his battles without using nationalistic slogans; he tied the Szekeler cause to the survival of all ethnic minorities all over the world, such as Indian tribes in North America or the indigenous peoples of South America. In effect he is a cosmopolitan nationalist. His campaign for his embattled community is amply illustrated with my new translations of his poems on the subject.
Brief Professional Bio:
Paul Sohar, a poet and translator, came as a teenage refugee from Hungary to the United States, where he studied philosophy and worked in a chemistry lab. His work has appeared in publications such as Chelsea, The Kenyon Review, and Rattle, and in Homing Poems, a collection of his poetry (Iniquity Press, 2005). He was also the editor of True Tales of a Ficticious Spy: An Hungarian Gulag Grotesquerie (SynergEbooks, 2006). He lives in Warren, NJ.