Winter is in full swing, the year is proceeding sometimes in slow motion, sometimes in a flurry, and somehow, almost out of nowhere, this winter issue came into being. We usually have plenty of pieces set aside from previous semesters or years; that wasn’t the case this time. But with a few requests, invitations, assignments, and encouragements, a plethora of pieces took form. This may be my favorite issue yet, at least in certain ways.
One piece from last fall’s international contest, by Nerses Boztaş (a student at the Lycée Sainte-Pulchérie in Istanbul), had intrigued me with its style and subject matter; I had promised to publish it in the winter issue, after some more editing and correspondence with the author. The final version has the liveliness and intensity of the initial version, along with clearer meaning for a general reader. We are delighted to feature it here.
For one English assignment, I asked students to write a piece inspired by the phrase “straight labyrinth”; if they wished, they could draw on János Pilinszky’s poem “Egyenes labirintus” for inspiration, but this was not required. This resulted in an exceptional variety of interesting pieces—funny, philosophical, melancholic, startling, agonized, matter-of-fact. Eighteen of them are published here in a special section.
Speaking of Pilinszky, you are cordially invited to a free online event hosted by the ALSCW (Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers) on March 20. While not directly related to Folyosó, it is of possible interest to Folyoso writers and readers. I will be interviewing the poet Csenger Kertai and the musicians/songwriters Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly (Cz.K. Sebő, Platon Karataev) and Gergely Balla (Platon Karataev) about Pilinszky’s influence on their work and thought. The discussion will be combined with recitations of Pilinszky and performances of the guests’ own work. For more information, see the event website and Facebook page.
Another section of this Folyosó issue features imaginary college application essays, an assignment for American Civilization class. Students were asked to pretend that they were applying to an American college or university and to write an essay in that vein. The purpose was to explore some differences between the educational systems Hungary and the U.S. The results were intriguing and lively.
The issue is rounded out by two dream-stories, two essays (one on walking and one on reading), and three beautiful works of art by Lilla Kassai, the cover artist for this issue.
The next issue will come out in mid-May. In the meantime, stay warm and healthy, come to the Pilinszky event if you wish, and—if you are a Varga student—send us your writing! (Our next international contest will be in the fall.)
Founder and Editor of Folyosó