István Vörös
István Vörös was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1964, and today he lives and works there as a freelance author and translator from Czech. Since 1988, he has published nine volumes of poetry, three prose books and three volumes of essays. His comprehensive literary work has been awarded several prizes, including the Attila József Prize, the Hubert Burda Prize and the Kristal Award at the literary festival of Vilenica. Since 1997, he has been head of the Czech department at the Péter Pázmány University in Budapest.

István Vörös' poems often begin with casual scenes; apparently banal observations from the everyday which open doors to concealed worlds or reveal fateful circumstances after a slight shift in perception. For example, in the poem "Der Strudel" (Strudel) from the volume of selected poems "Die leere Grapefruit" (The Empty Grapefruit), which appeared in German in 2004, a strudel dough becomes more and more luminous during rolling, until a key moment from the grandmother's life materialises on it: "The dough is stretched, / becoming as translucent as parchment where writing appears / Letters from a long-forgotten man." The sender of the letters and the grandmother missed one another, and the family story took the course which – in retrospect – has always appeared the only one possible.

Repeatedly in the work of István Vörös, it is possible to find unimagined spaces and time stories that emerge in the midst of everyday life – there are houses on goose legs and racing earth-dragon metros in New York, an animal with sharp toes that looks back at you from the mirror, giving you a shock with its stone-age behaviour, complete strangers that accompany you back home, so that suddenly you are unsure whether those who leave will ever return. As in Alice's story, we realise that it is only one step from modern life to the parallel world of fairy-tales and legend just around the next corner.

Another theme is the political change of recent years, for example in the poem "The Empty Grapefruit" about the time when things were already fermenting in the countries of the Eastern Block: "I simply could not understand/ the progress of decay. / On the radiator lay the half / grapefruit, empty, dry and hard. Fair / enough. I filled it with water – / but it dried out again. Fine by me. / But as it grew soft the second time, / it lost its form and became scorched / black. Stinking, it disintegrated, / its presence was a foul stench in the room. (...)" Political change was followed by travel – to the New World – and thoughts on the idea of freedom, mainly the question of when too much freedom turns to relativism, for example in the poem "Letters to America": "This degree of freedom / I believe, cannot be sensibly used / in any other way / than to stay in your room. / No one asks if I can sleep / at all, they do not ask, whether my blood / is thin or thick. This degree of / freedom can only be borne / with the double break in time. Here it is nine / o'clock, at home half past two. There the future / has already come in to land. Letters bring news / two or three weeks old / when they reach me, they are out of date. (...)"