Hungarian poet János Pilinszky on Simone Weil

János Pilinszky watch

János Pilinszky (27 November 1921 in Budapest – 27 May 1981 in Budapest) was one of the greatest Hungarian poets of the 20th century. Well known within the Hungarian borders for his vast influence on postwar Hungarian poetry, Pilinszky’s style includes a juxtaposition of Roman Catholic faith and intellectual disenchantment. His poetry often focuses on the underlying sensations of life and death; his time as a prisoner of war during the Second World War and later his life under the communist dictatorship furthered his isolation and estrangement.”

YouTube (posted April 2021)


— Gábor Szmeskó,“The History of the Poetic Mind of János Pilinszky.” Hungarian Cultural Studies. e-Journal of the American Hungarian Educators Association, vol. 13 (2020)

Love between Two Poems: The Imagination, Love and Literature in Simone Weil

Lieven De Maeyer

Mysticism and/as Love Theory (2021), pp. 167-176

Attention: Thomas A. Clark and Simone Weil

Simone Kotva read

This essay studies the connection between attention and redemption in the poetry of Thomas A. Clark. It discusses the possibility of using Simone Weil’s religious philosophy to interpret Clark’s understanding of attention as ‘waiting’. It argues that while there are affinities between Clark and Weil, Clark’s poetic practice also reveals a resistance to the ascetic extremes which attention assumes in Weil’s philosophy. To think through the difference between attention as method and style, the essay then draws on the failures of Descartes’ Meditations in order to argue that only a practical, that is to say, stylistic, engagement with attention will allow for the radical attention that Weil sought but could not achieve.

Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1–16, and American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 84, No. 3.

Poetry As Decreation: Impersonality and Grace in T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil

Emily M. King read

This thesis posits that however separated T.S. Eliot and Simone Weil are by circumstance, political affinity, and Church affiliation, their thoughts intersect at a crucial point. While Weil’s theory of decreation and Eliot’s notion of impersonality are often cast as theological and poetic innovations, they both hearken back to the Christian mystical tradition – specifically, the aspect of via negativa. Placed alongside one another, Weil’s poetic mysticism and Eliot’s concern for the spiritual reveal the capacity of poems to decreate and bring the reader to a moment of void that awaits the fulfillment of grace. This thesis will study these topics with express consideration of Eliot’s Four Quartets and Weil’s notebooks, especially Gravity and Grace.

Honor’s Thesis, Department of English, Stanford University, May 2019.