Poems by Petőfi in Turkic Languages in the Ybl Villa

The poem by Sándor Petőfi “Freedom, Love!” was recited in Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkish and Turkmen languages in the Ybl Villa where the winners of the international competition in literary translation to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Petőfi were welcomed. Ambassador János Hóvári, the Executive Head of the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) greeted the award winners who earned the first places in the international literary translation competition, jointly organized by the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) and the Foundation of the Adult Education College in Lakitelek.

In his opening remarks, János Hóvári pointed out that about 500 literary translations have been penned by 100 Turkic poets. The Board selected the best translations out of these. The Ambassador highlighted the position of Petőfi in world literature, as well as the fact that various cultural factors play an important role in preserving his memory and impact. “I am pleased that we managed to hold this competition. It was initiated by the OTS, and two persons can claim merit for its success: Sultan Raev, the Secretary General of TÜRKSOY and Sándor Lezsák, the President of the Foundation of the Adult Education College in Lakitelek had agreed to jointly announce it in the Memorial Year of Sándor Petőfi.”

The Associations of Writers in the Turkic countries also offered assistance to promoting the competition. Those present here today, who have taken part in this test and won prizes, are all poets that are the distinguished members of contemporary literary life. János Hóvári also emphasized that the Turkic poets took the work very seriously – the have understood the spirituality of Petőfi and reflected it in their mother tongues. The prize winners, who have spent more than a week in Hungary, were able to glance into the deeper layers of Hungarian culture, since they also participated in the celebrations of March 15 in several venues. They have seen both Budapest and the countryside, and they appreciate our commitment to fighting for our culture tooth and nail.

During the above event, Kinga Erős, the President of the Association of Hungarian Writers, also welcomed the award winners. A she put it – they are all committed artists who take great pains to translate the poems of our emblematic poet into their mother tongues. “In such a way, they have translated not only the fame of Petőfi and his greatness as a poet, but have become the mediators of the spirituality, the way of thinking and the culture of the Hungarian people as well,” said President Erős. Through the works of Petőfi they have managed to get better acquainted with us, his descendants. “I was very pleased with the initiative that the epigram “Freedom, Love!” was selected for translation, since it is the essence of the ars poetica of Petőfi’s lifework. Besides, from our point of view, this work has the vital feature of easy translation. This particular poems is, perhaps, not difficult to render, because it expresses universal human desires, feelings and goals that transcend cultural differences.” The President also added that she was overjoyed by the fact the on March 6 this year the Association of Turkic Writers was established. This is a great opportunity to make the literature of the Turkic world well-known and also to get acquainted with one another through the works of excellent writers.

After the welcoming remarks the seven award winners of the competition – Ramil Ehmed and Baris Cavid Mövsümlü from Azerbaijan, Dauren Berikqazhyuly from Kazakistan, Toluk Bek Baizak from Kyrgyzstan, Dursun Ayan from Türkiye, Akmyrat Rejebow from Turkmenistan and Rustam Musurmon from Uzbekistan – recited the poem “Freedom, Love!” in their own mother tongues.

The program of the international literary translation was realized with the support of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the local government of Kiskunfélegyháza, the Association of Hungarian Writers, the Hungarian Academy of Arts, the National Institute of Education, the Petőfi Literary Museum, the Representation Office of the OTS and the Tolstoy Society.

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