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Clouded Sky

4.64 of 5 stars 4.64  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  14 reviews
..".a truly great poet, one in whom the lyrical image-maker and the critical human intelligence dealing with the tragic twentieth century are utterly fused, as they so rarely are . . . The quality of the translation is such that it is hard to remember the poems were not first written in English, even though one is always aware of Radnoti's vision as European and of his loc ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Sheep Meadow Press (first published 1972)
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PGR Nair

Miklos Radnoti (1909-1944), the Hungarian Jewish poet and a fierce anti-fascist, is considered as the greatest of the Holocaust poets. His poetry collection, “Clouded Sky” , wonderfully translated by Steven Polgar, Stephen Berg, and S.J. Marks, alone is enough to rank him as a truly great poet , one in whom the lyrical image-maker and the critical human intelligence find a perfect fusion.

Before discussing his poems, I will condense his biography in a few
One of my favorite poets of all time ever! I just re-read this, as I often do. Indescribable, but I will say if you like Neruda and/or Rilke at all, you'll like Radnoti (He's all heart in a way that reminds me of them). Clouded Sky might be called Poetry of Witness, but it's never, ever preachy-- just precise, lovely, enthralling. Surprisingly comforting and hopeful.

Here's a sample (not necessarily the best, but one of the shorter ones... and the final quartet in this kills me every time!):

Are you cold? You are like the lonely
song of a bird sitting on a branch covered with snow

Are you surprised, love, that i am so thin?
The trouble of worlds is heavy, the trouble of worlds hurts me...

...Light vibrates inside my tired eyes
but i still smile sometimes. I smile because
even seeds hiding in the earth are happy when they've outlived
another winter. i think about you, love, and love,
a sleepy mood, walks like a tiger and toys with me.


The door rattles
Elizabeth Scott
One of my favorite translations of one of my favorite poets. Radnoti was murdered in Hungary in 1944, a victim of the Holocaust. He wrote poems right up until he died, and when his wife found his body in 1946, she found his last poems tucked into the pocket of his coat. The fact that he managed to write poetry in the face of so much horror, and right up until he died, makes me cry, as does his work, which is beautiful and utterly haunting.
Aug 20, 2011 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
In Miklos Radnoti's trench coat pocket notebook of poems during work-camp years under Fascism, Clouded Sky speaks from a tragic European twentieth-century vision of love and death, but primarily death, for example, by personifying war as stormcrows in the poem "Spain, Spain" (1): "O black-winged war, whipping us. / Terror flies across the border. / No one sows, no one reaps on the other side. / Grapes aren't picked any more." The poem "At an Impatient Hour" (5): "Maybe I should be silent too. Wh ...more
My friend Ryan introduced me to this Hungarian poet while we traveling around Central/Eastern Europe last summer. This particular book has poems Radnoti wrote while he, as a Jew in fascist Hungary, was conscripted into a forced labor battalion, death-marched around Eastern Europe, and eventually executed. While the extraordinary historical circumstances surrounding his poems add to their power, his talent is such that they can easily stand alone on their own artistic merits. Excellent, sad, beau ...more
spare, horrifying, tender.
Amazing life. A Jew who became a Catholic but whose poetry was Hungarian and Jewish. He was caught in the midst of the Second World War, conscripted into a service corps at the end of the war, brutally treated, died and was buried. When friends went to look for his body, they found it, with some of his best poetry still on him. He is buried in the National Cemetery of Hungary. I visited his grave there in Budapest.
this book is worth reading just to experience the story of the author - killed be fascists, buried in a mass grave, later exhumed and identified by his wife (18 months later) and notebooks were found in his trenchcoast, which were cleaned up and became part of this manuscript. does it get better than that? nope.
Camille Martin
The following is an appreciation of Radnoti written on the anniversary of his murder. It includes poems from this wonderfully-translated collection.
Miklos Radnoti (1909 – 1944)
Apr 22, 2008 Richard marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry, translation
The edition I have of this book is a special issue of the journal Poetry East (#22), published in 1987. The translators are Steven Polgar, Steven Berg and S. J. Marks.
This is one of my all-time favorite books on the planet!!! To me, this is clearly the best translation of Radnoti's poems into English.
Lauren Proux
Only the Steven Polgar and Stephen Berg translation. You can find it on
radnóti miklós' poetry is in my heart - no words
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Miklós Radnóti, birth name Miklós Glatter was a Hungarian poet who fell victim to The Holocaust.
Radnóti was born into an assimilated Jewish family. His life was considerably shaped by the fact that both his mother and his twin brother died at his birth. He refers to this trauma in the title of his compilation Ikrek hava ("Month of Gemini"/"Month of the Twins").

Though in his last years, Hungarian s
More about Miklós Radnóti...
Forced March Bori notesz Foamy Sky: The Major Poems of Miklos Radnoti Ikrek hava (Napló a gyerekkorról) Camp Notebook

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“The road whinnies and rears up. The sky gallops.
You are permanent within me in this chaos.
Somewhere deep in my mind you shine forever, without
moving, silent, like the angel awed by death,
or like the insect burying itself
in the rotted heart of a tree.”
“Save me, O you who love me; love me bravely.” 8 likes
More quotes…