George Szirtes



I am a poet, editor and literary translator. Of poetry there have been some 13 – 15 books since The Slant Door (1979) depending on how you count them, and it’s much the same of translations from the Hungarian, chiefly fiction and poetry. My education, in so far as it constituted a formal education, was in Fine Art, five years of it, chiefly painting in my degree years at Leeds, 1969-1972. The books have won a decent number of prizes including the T S Eliot Prize for Reel (2004) and have been shortlisted for it twice more including in 2009 for The Burning of the Books, and in 2013 for Bad Machine. My translation of László Krasznahorkai’s novel Satantango won the Best Translated Book Award in the US last year and my second book of poems for children, In the Land of the Giants was awarded the CLPE Prize. So last year was good. There are more books to come this year, one a translation of Magda Szabó’s 1960s novel, Iza’s Ballad for Random House, the other a poetic collaboration with Carol Watts, titled 56, to be published by Arc.

After some seventeen years of teaching art and art history in schools, in 1992 I moved to the art school in Norwich where I taught Creative Writing, chiefly poetry, for about fourteen years, then taught the poetry MA at UEA, from which I retired on 31 December last year.

I had been blogging since 2005 (full CV there) and two years ago began to work with Twitter and, in a slightly different way, on Facebook too. The Twitter account is mainly for experiments with poetry, microfiction, mock proverbs, tall tales, the absurd, the comic and the haunting. It has led me to collaborations and new ways of writing and has usefully kept me awake some nights. It has also produced, and is still producing, a stream of small off-centre books that I have found exciting.

I was delighted to make the acquaintance of James Knight and friends, and am just as pleased to join him – and them – here.


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