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Endgames by Márton Koppány


Márton Koppány

76 pages, full color

ISBN: 978-0-9804541-3-0   

Otoliths 2008

$24.95 + p&h

URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/2183260


"The extraordinary thing about Koppány’s work is the way he takes gaps in thought and elaborates on them. How he expands the unsaid. How he crafts a visual grammar by framing it in verbal settings. The way he’s able to create more surface area than is originally given. This is a book of billboard puzzles that reveal in the subtlest way. These are posters that disturb meaning. Koppány’s destination seems to want to disrupt logic by executing it perfectly askew. Perfectly."

Nico Vassilakis

from Endgames 
                      Ellipsis No. 5
                           Colon No. 2 for Bob Grumman

Karl Young's back page blurb for Márton Koppány's Endgames

There’s something comic about giving the work of Márton Koppány the high praise it deserves. Partly because the work defies, undermines, and eludes the conventions on which rank is based. Partly because its inexhaustible nature lets no remark remain definitive. Partly because his materials are so essential that anything you say about them seems excessive and pretentious. This confession may give me room to write about his work without becoming too self-conscious to say anything. To me, his “Symphony No. 9” and “Waves” are as good as anything written by a poet born in the second half of the 20th Century.  Reasons for this come from his maximum use of a writer’s simplest tools, and from addressing universal patterns with them. A writer’s most basic tool is paper. The base line of the symphony comes from simply numbering its pages. The suspense, contemplative depth, and music of “Waves” depends on leaving precisely the right number of pages blank.  Earlier works such as these depend on Koppány’s background in the dangers of language and existence: When a Hungarian Jew who lost most of his family to the Holocaust; lived much of his life under Soviet domination; now lives in an environment of Neo-Nazi resurgence, is extremely careful with his use of language, it should not be seen as simply a style or affectation. At the same time, attributing political motives to his economy of language reduces it and him to propaganda, the genre farthest away from his poetry. An exploration of the danger of existence without complaint reveals a larger personality. A completely infectious sense of humor which ridicules no one and degrades nothing makes sense of the inescapable circuits in which his work moves.


In Endgames Koppány leaves some of the austerity of his previous black and white publications. He still uses the most basic of materials, but the medium has changed. The common currency of icons and images from everyday life in the environment of the world wide web now presents itself to him without the restrictions of print. In the new environment, images may move closer to patterns of thought than could language because they have a greater capacity to transcend borders. Color images also have the capacity to carry more information. This does not stop Koppány from his most important technique: to change the significance of everything by altering a detail, often as small as the dot of a question mark. The torrent of information may increase, but the need to grasp the essential detail remains. In this book, an essential detail may appear in the notes. For the first time, most poems are dedicated to other people. This suggests that some of the isolation explored in Koppány’s earlier work is moving into a more social dimension. His abundant generosity has always been present, but this book may mark a turning point in its distribution. Certainly the book itself presents one of Koppány’s Buster Keaton ironies: The poems may have been made possible by computer; the publication, however, returns the images to paper.



Geof Huth posts about Endgames at dbqp: visualizing poetics.
Eileen Tabios engages with Endgames at Galatea Resurrects #10.


Mark Young,
Jun 2, 2008, 10:12 PM
Mark Young,
Jun 2, 2008, 9:53 PM
Mark Young,
Jun 2, 2008, 9:52 PM