V4 diaries (Cracow): Réka Borda


The next round of the Children of the Transition session is held in Cracow. I’m the only one who seems to be the „official newbie” – I am charged to replace Bence and Anna, who both couldn’t manage to take part in the workshops.

After our arrival, we don’t have much time to take a nap: up for Cracow! I am introduced to Wojciech and Stepan. I’m embarrassed but it’s getting better after some cigarettes with the guys. To sum up briefly our night, I must highlight some words: (hilarious Polish) cuisine, (freaking) COLD, tower, (another) tower, pub, taxi, (oh-my-god-I-love-my) bed.

Next day, Stepan, Feri, Ákos and I meet in Villa Decius to discuss our attitude towards the transition, poetry and the literary situation of our country. It’s Sabina Misiarz-Filipek who moderates the conversation. She has interesting questions and she leads the interview in a very professional way. I really enjoy the three-hour long talk. It turns my brain on about topics which I’ve never wondered deeply before like: would I choose poetry as a full-time job if I lived in a state where literature is well-paid? Or: why the hell there is no author or poet in Hungary who would stand out proudly and write down that he or she is homosexual?

After lunch, we come together with Wojciech for the second workshop (Feri is the one again who’s typing on his laptop like a moustached spy). Our task is to talk about the avant-garde and neo-avantgarde movement in our country. Despite that I really tried to get some information about the weak avant-garde lyrical tradition of Hungary, I feel like I have no idea how to intervene in the conversation. But it’s okay, fortunately, some names pop up in my mind and I know the characteristics of the movement so it helps me to fit in. The rest of the time goes by sketching the common features and the differences among Polish, Czech and Hungarian avant-garde before and after the transition.

At the end of the day, we go to Kazimierz, the Jewish and also the party district of Cracow. We get in Alchimia, Feri’s favourite place, a fully candled ruin-bar-like pub. I realize that I love Polish people and Polish aperitifs.

I’m looking forward to see these guys in Budapest. I had great time in Cracow but I feel like I didn’t have enough opportunity to (get sufficiently relaxed to) have good talks with them. But Budapest is my ground so I will be super-duper.

Réka Borda

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