JÁNOS PILINSZKY (1921-19810 lived in Budapest. Conscripted in 1944, he spent the last year of the war moving from prison camp to prison camp in Austria and Germany. What he saw then had a lasting impact on his poetic vision.

His first book of poems appeared in 1946, but he was banned from publishing for ten years after the communist takeover in 1948. He made a living by writing a column for the Catholic weekly Új Embe. His second collection came out in 1959, and three further books between 1970 and 1974 were followed by his collected poems Kráter in 1976. He also wrote several short plays, and this novel which was published by Anvil in 1977.

He visited England several times, first for the Poetry International Festival in 1969. Selected Poems translated by Ted Hughes and János Csokits was published by Carcanet in 1976; a revised and enlarged edition The Desert of Love (Anvil) came out in 1989. Crater, a collection of his poems from 1974-75 translated by Peter Jay, was published by Anvil in 1978.

“A curious book, very fascinating and challenging...”—Library Journal

Translated by Peter Jay and Éva Major

PETER JAY's collection of poems Shifting Frontiers was published by Carcanet in 1980. He edited The Greek Anthology, a Penguin Classic, and his other translations include selections from several Romanian poets, most recently Ana Blandiana's The Hour of Sand. He lives in Greenwich and editorial director of Anvil Press Poetry.

ÉVA MAJOR lives in Budapest, where she works as an English teacher.