A Saturday Woman Poet, Ágnes Nemes Nagy.


Ágnes Nemes Nagy was born in Budapest in 1922 . She died in 1998. The two poems that I am excerpting here go no way toward illuminating her skill and mastery of word and image.The book Between was gifted to me from the estate of Marianne Agren Mc Elroy (translator and artist). Two of Marianne’s translations are on the site and most of the European women poets come from collections that comprised the gift or from my own reading in Women’s Literature. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in women’s poetry get the book which is translated by Hugh Maxton . The imagery that Nagy used is masterful.


The one who has been rowing while the storm
Approaches near , who strains with every limb
Against the trusty footboard’s rigid form
And finds a sudden absence from the rim

Of the broken oar, weightless hand, and
Falling propulsion , falling
With the loosened, dropping shaft and
Whose whole body sags-

He knows what I know.

This is the third verse of Winter Angel:

Dreadful wind that March
There was a windy red sky clinkers
he landed before sunset
And he was enormous
His bristling, hawkshade wing
Couldn’t fit in the cottage
Half his cloak stayed out
And the ring round his eye
Was a predator’s
How the place shook
He pierced door and window
he perched on roof and wall
In the mortar between bricks
Wrapped in the windbreak
Boxing the compass.”

from: Between by Ágnes Nemes Nagy, Trans , Hugh Maxton. Dedalus Press Dublin and Corvina Press Budapest.

I had put a link url on the Threads post on this blog with my review of Between, there is also a link to the review in the blogroll which is on the Poetry Ireland reviews page. There is a related post on Poethead about Julian of Norwich and Margaret Atwood, regarding Midwifery, and the birth of images through the breaking of forms and the creation of precise imagist descriptions by women writers.Julian termed her visions her ‘Shewings’, both can be accessed through the search engine on the right hand side of this page.


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