Robert Zend (poetry gratitude series)

Robert Zend (1929-1985) was a Canadian poet, fiction writer, and artist who made his way to Canada with his wife, Ibi, and baby daughter in 1956 as political refugees following the failed Hungarian Uprising against Soviet rule.

Zend and his wife were both survivors of the Holocaust. Ibi suffered and lived through three concentration camps, and Robert was sent to a forced labour camp in the forests of Hungary. Near the end of the war, the prisoners of that camp were compelled to embark on what was effectively a death march. Zend and two other prisoners escaped during the night and survived by hiding in a monastery until they were liberated by Soviet soldiers. The story of Robert’s and Ibi’s lives is remarkable and moving.

As a writer, poet, and multimedia artist, Zend was cosmopolitan, like his native Budapest: his influences were broad and international. I encourage anyone interested in exploring his life and work to have a look at my thirteen-part series Robert Zend: Poet without Borders, which I wrote after extensive research into the Zend fonds at the University of Toronto as well as interviews with family members. The URL for the table of contents:

Below are two shorter poems by Zend, both in his book From Zero to One.

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