Poets of the World: Gabor G. Gyukics, Hungary


Gabor G. Gyukics (born in 1958) is a Hungarian-American poet, literary translator and  author of five books of original poetry, four in Hungarian, one in English (Last Smile), and nine books of translations including A Transparent Lion, selected poetry of Attila József, one of the most important Hungarian poets of the 20th Century. He writes his poems in English (which is his second language) and Hungarian. He lived in Holland for two years before moving to the US where he lived between 1988 and 2002; at present he resides in Budapest.

His poetic works and translations have been published in over 200 magazines and anthologies in English, Hungarian and other languages world wide. In 2011 two of his poems were accepted and published in Cream City Review and Southeast Review.

He is a recipient of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) residency in Canada in 2011.

Gabor G. Gyukics established the only existing Open Mike reading series in Hungary in 1999, which has hosted over 100 Open Poetry readings with well known prize winners and also with young and upcoming poets.

He is a member of the Belletrist Association of Hungary and the Hungarian Translators Association.

At present he is working on translating the poetic works of North American Indigenous poets for an anthology to be published in Hungarian.

Recently three of his poems were published in German in Sterz magazine located in Graz, Austria.

«Elevating the associative musicality of images and thoughts to become an organizing principle is certainly not without roots in the Hungarian poetic tradition, yet the way Gabor G Gyukics is using it still sounds foreign and strange in Europe (and in Hungary), and it is rather close to contemporary American poetry. Mainly because Gyukics’ poetry is not based on edited music and on music in the poetic sense. What is important in the case of this strange ‘tradition’ is the improvisative character, its instantaneity, its direct (yet not individual) subjectivity of live jazz and the ephemer aeshetics of the poems that cannot be canonized and therefore they seem foreign to the aeshtetic requirements of European poetry.»

(Dr. Orsolya Rákai, Ph.D., Venia Docendi)



abate to jay walk through this cut off street
where around the corner
assigned agents hunker in the mist
judging your move incongruous
in their inner boredom

you ignore the zealous civil servants
fooling them by flying above the lanes
with your cloud stretching wings
dismissing their concerns
you cross over
landing in the center of this
privately owned neighborhood
paying a visit to no one specific


designated areas

missed the train
got rained on
got lost
to avoid us
the stars gathered at the most distant point of the sky
saw frozen laundry on a rope
stretched between two trees
as we walked by a Canadian village
a well-designated area
riding in a shabby truck
we vanished in the city
where wire nets slung between metal poles
holding up falling objects
from newly built high-rises
“take your mask off before entering”
said a sign welded on the door
of a liquor store
as we walked in
we checked and
our camouflage



A sad bird froze to the neighbor’s windshield.
Its snow stuffed body
hail picking beak
and sickle stiff claws
shattered the safety glass
into non-recyclable trash.
The swearing neighbor
grabbed the ice-winged carcass
broke it in half
gathered the pieces
and threw them up to the winter air.
Fly! – he screamed
Fly! – he screamed raging cold-blooded
at the scene of the scheme
not seeing
as the two half birds came to life
rose to fall
one winged
into his reddening eyes


Forge or Subdue

A man of deception drove a red car
stolen from a white hearted garage
across the neighborhood of perpetual music,
turned the street corner that vaguely resembled a South Asian hell
where he had spent years in an area sanctuary,
sneezing purposely to achieve separation
from the goggle eyed alliance of poisonous,
covertly intelligent servicemen of his own country.
Now again he unwillingly crossed the line
of sludged sentiment he wished to eliminate
from the archives of his system and
deciphered that he hated those who wanted to have him and
hated those who were not interested in having him.
After arriving to silence he sat down on an unfamiliar stoop and
dreamed of a piece of water-jewelry
that the daughter of a pearl diver wore around her neck.


about to decide

through the interfacial
hair-tiny crack
of the locked train window
blown in snow pellets
freeze an iced relief
on the windowsill

the rushing train
scares a heron away
from the iced sedge marsh
along the tracks

a raven chases off
a pair of turtle doves
from a pine tree bough
to see the tracks
drilling through the woods

a pine needle punctures the snow
and suffocates in an ice sheath

a magpie is watching all these

this bird is still at home
it wouldn’t want to go
where the sky is not the same


Adjustment to the Environment

It’s hot,
I drink a shot to become hotter,
I don’t feel like drinking tea,
It’s said that in Asia,
During the hot season,
People drink hot liquid to adjust their bodies,
To the outside temperature,
It’s not my reason,
I want to burn from inside
Not to decompose,
But to be absorbed, to disappear with no trace,
But only my stomach turns itself on,
When I sit in the loo my nose is always running,
My system draws a parallel between two actions,
Hot shower, another shot,
And out to the heat,
The shadow has already lost its function,
Every woman is pregnant this morning


The Noontide and the Chemist

The funnel of a once to come quizzical Noontide
Edged itself to the lung-colored branches of ancient trees
A subtle Chemist surprised the seashore crowd by
Burning himself and becoming the subject of his
Own chemistry as he was washed away
The residue didn’t register anywhere
Only a saw-toothed shadow of a scapula was seen
Later under a sinister cliff side

© Gabor G. Gyukics
(Edited by Leslie Mcbride Wile)