Jewish Music & Poetry Project

Poets & Musicians

Attila Jozsef



Hungarian poet and translator Attila József (1905-1937) came from an impoverished family and a difficult childhood: his father left when he was a toddler and his mother passed away while he was a young teen. He published his first book of poetry and made his first attempt at suicide before he turned 21. As an adult, his poetry and translations were widely published and he grew active in the Socialist and Communist movements, founding a periodical that was banned by the police in short order. After increasing bouts of despair and stints of hospitalization, he killed himself by jumping under a freight train. József is considered one of the most important lyric poets in 20th century Hungarian literature and was awarded the Kossuth Prize posthumously in 1948.