The page of Petri György, English biography
György Petri was born in Budapest in 1943 and died in the same city in August 2000. His exceptional lyrical talents, as both poet and translator, earned him many prestigious literary awards, among them two of Hungary’s highest distinctions – the Attila József and the Kossuth Prizes (in 1980 and 1996, respectively) – along with an award by the Soros Foundation for lifetime achievement, and a plaque in memory of Imre Nagy (Hungary’s prime minister during the 1956 revolution), as well as Germany’s Nicolaus Lenau Prize. Petri always pursued a solitary path and in so doing became something of a cult figure and Budapest legend as an uncompromising and outspoken dissident even under the more trying times of the post-1956 communist era. His first volume of poetry, Magyarázatok M. számára (Explanations for M. 1971), was followed by, among others, Körülírt zuhanás (Circumscribed Fall, 1974), Örökhétfő (Eternal Monday, 1981 – one of several samizdat publications), Valahol megvan (It’s Around Somewhere, 1989), Sár (Mud, 1992), and Összegyűjtött versek (Collected Poems; 1996). His collected works were published in Hungarian by Magvető in two volumes in 2004. His renderings of plays by Brecht and Molière, in new, contemporary Hungarian translations, were produced on stage to great acclaim.