Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Penig Film

It has been a time of interviews recently, one for Iota magazine (plus poems), which, I am delighted to say, looks a properly classy joint for a poet to stumble into. And there is this, with Sarah Hymas, that is, she says also due to appear on the Litfest blog in November.

There is a link in Sarah's piece to a film about the liberation of Penig concentration camp, where my mother was incarcerated. This is the film, the second one after Leipzig and the validating material (the clip is one of a series now on YouTube):

There is a sequence of poems titled 'The Penig Film' in The Burning of the Books and Other Poems. The film was not this one, or rather it was a shorter clip from it, just a minute or so, without commentary. This shows more. I could not identify my mother in the film I saw, nor can I in this - the quality of film is just not good enough - though it is possible she might be one of the figures shown. Why would the film show her specifically? There were many others there. However, the film does show the hospital, which seems familiar. I think this photograph might have been taken there.


My mother at the Penig hospital with GI George, in memory of whom I was named, though he was not my father. I was born rather too late for that. But of course I wonder about George - he would have been not too far from the cameraman shooting the Penig film. To see the film, longer, with commentary, is a rather shaking experience, shaking all over again (not to mention the terrible stills from Leipzig that precede it). The poem is in the book and appeared originally in The Manhattan Review - but I might put it up here too since the text itself is not on the link.


While linking, there is a wonderful and very long piece on the New and Collected Poems in the most recent Hungarian Quarterly, though this link takes you only to the first of several pages. There is also, I understand, a long piece by John Taylor due in the Antioch Review. More on that when it appears.

1 comment:

Angela France said...

That's a good and thoughtful piece in the Hungarian Quarterly.

Thank you for the 'Iota' mention!