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  • Gábor Lanczkor

Erupt Again: Gábor Lanczkor

Stones need their strength back, exclaimed Gabor Lanczkor when observing the sunlit karst landscape of Istra while at ZiN residency in May of 2016. We deprive them of their power, says this musician, poet and artist-performer, whose passion is the search for rocks from inactive volcanoes on Lake Balaton, where he lives. Gabor admits with sadness that volcano stones are mercilessly excavated for commercial purposes, so he makes it a part of his poetic agenda to return to that most basic element of our environment its original meaning and importance.

The poems below are a part of Sound Odyssey, a collection of Gabor’s selected work, his first book in English, to be published in India (Mumbai: Poetrywala, 2106.) in March of 2017. And to offer a further insight into ways in which Gabor establishes a poetic relationship with his most immediate environment, we add a short video-piece he coauthored with his colleague Szabolcs Varga, a visual artist with whom he collaborates on a series of multimedia projects titled The Theater of Landscape Wounds.

Injured nature mirrors frailty and vulnerability of human beings that seek solace in it, but along with a promise of solace they find the evidence of their transgressions against nature... The restlessness that we carry, we cannot escape.

After living in Budapest, Rome, Ljubljana and London, Gabor Lanczkor (b. in 1981 in Székesfehérvár, Hungary) settled down with his wife & collaborator, flutist Krisztina Lanczkor-Kocsis and their two daughters in a village near Lake Balaton. He has published eleven books of prose and poetry. As the guitarist of the band Médeia Fiai (Sons of Medea), he is also involved in some rather curious musical experiments which include the project Anarchitecture:


The Table

I cannot be A humanist. The relics of the myth of genesis closed into the Commissured bone shell of my brain, Like the magma of the Earth ready to Blow out (my hair and beard Wave like the ancient Sea, grow and wane, the surface of the earth breaks, And crusts again with its Volcanoes).

The three of us sat in a rented Fiat, driving from Syracuse to Augusta (a German boy and girl, siblings; They invited me to join them in climbing Etna, I joined them Instead in seeing the Santa Lucia of Caravaggio in Syracuse, afterwards We visited it together anyway, But we could not have been humanists). In a room in an Edinburgh hostel I flipped through a book, according to a caption the Table Mountain In Cape Town Provided such an intimate vision for the arriving British sailors Like the trade sign of their haunt.

I sat in a pub in the Docklands of London Before the tableboard Of the Table Mountain. How could I be a humanist. I am cruel. Sad relics of the myth of Genesis Closed into the Commissured bone shell of my brain.

The Allegedly Sleeping Volcano Erupts Again 1.

As we stepped out of the shaking houses, we stopped under the

poplar trees at the Ság crossroads.

Although on plain ground, the car went into a drunken skid

the handbrake ineffective.

The black cloud near the stumpy, mined basalt crown of Mount Ság

was torn by lightning strikes, then it broke into sky-high bursts of

flame, like a bolt untamed.

Soon a cloud descended on the plain, enveloping, engulfing us as we drove toward the mountain on the abandoned road.

Ahead of us visibility like oblivion. It rained ashes, sparsely at first.

The Allegedly Sleeping Volcano Erupts Again 2.

Dense darkness followed us, covering the ground; it gushed in our

wake like an angry flood.

Then darkness fell upon us, a darkness unlike the moonless, cloudy

night but as though the light is turned off in late evening in a

confined space. You lit the reflectors.

Arriving at the parking space in the mountain-side, a spark of light

greeted us, yet I knew that it was not the dawn, but the fire crater at

our threshold.

Rushing out, we hurried upwards along the iron-fenced steps with a


Darkness fell on us once again, a cool rain of ash poured out yet

again, more densely this time.

We stopped several times, you pulled me close, we huddled up, set

out again after a few moments, shaking off the heavy ash, you ruffled

my hair with your wide palm.

Hand in hand, we waded through ankle-deep ash, only the glint of the

rail showing us the way.

Translated from Hungarian by Zoltán Lengyel and Rita Malhotra


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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