3rd pelgrimage: the book mountains

The third pilgrimage also slips into the Hungarian goulash. It already starts with an inability to decide which poet to turn to, as I have three Hungarian examples: Csoóri, Juhász and József. We drove to the Bükk Mountains and it turns out that Attila József stayed in a hotel in Lillafüred and wrote a famous poem there. My idea was to do the same, but the hotel is too expensive, as the days when Hungary was cheap are in the distant past.

We are about a hundred kilometres from the Ukrainian border. Now and then some military equipment flies over. In the streets we see more and more men in military uniforms, but they are not army men. It is the stereotypical Larry Leafblower who has taken his uniform from the attic and is now marching around in a militant way to signal that after corona he is once again experiencing great social benefits. We drove by and he made a sarcastic bow. Yesterday the landlady called in a panic: petrol is rationed here, whether we had enough petrol to get away again. So no, the war is not passing me by, in fact I am quite close to it.

Yesterday we went to Eger. That is said to be one of the most beautiful Hungarian towns. I’m still trying to enjoy it but I’m tired of travelling. Too many places, too many impressions. Just an enormous need to process all that, but I don’t have a place to call home to do that. The nomadic existence is certainly fascinating, but it has its own tragedies and difficulties.

Back to the pilgrimage. So I decided to go to Eger to stock up on all the Juhász books they had in a nice bookstore, just like I did with Can Yücel. But oh no, here too the bookstores have been replaced by….hmm…something with a hospital atmosphere and only new books. Went to the biggest bookshop in Eger. Found it on google maps, turned out to be in a huge shopping centre. They had a bookcase with poetry, but not a single book by Juhász or Pilinszky or Csoóri. A whole cupboard full of…well, no idea. It can’t be much if you leave out the best poets. So I bought a book by Attila József at a street stall, the only book of poetry there was. I don’t know what those shops are, they imitate bookshops, but they are not bookshops at all. Imitation. Fake. Impossible for a real bookshop not to stock the best.

I repeat: if you don’t stock the best writers, you are not a bookshop at all.

Yet another point that only earns a hollow, pitying glance from a nihilist. A cupboard full of Flemish poetry without Paul Snoek is…yes, what is that….a strange cupboard, a flupcupboard. A strange country too, because during his lifetime, Mr Snoek could not enjoy any of the benefits that his superior abilities generated: he was completely ignored by even then so ‘pleasant’ colleagues, innumerable great talents who strangely enough disappear like snow in the sun after their death. So-called natural selection, in reality a political construct.

No Juhász. The greatest poet is missing from every bookstore. The Book Mountains, it turns out, are not ideal for books. Where the Turks, twenty years after Yücel’s death, still had not made a collected work, the fate of the great poet is even sadder here, there is not a single book left to be found. Betrayal is in the air here, the betrayal of literature and the sell-out of a generation.

And then, outside, you come across a wonderful example of Hungarian marketing:

it probably works really well too

And opposite, you can pull ‘pokets’ from the machine. Is this the future of all literature?

No Juhasz in sight here either

No, the result of my pilgrimage is a selected verse by Attila József. The man was fortunately born in time for it.

Bought in the book mountains!

And so, for the time being, my series of pilgrimages comes to an end. Shipwrecked, on the brink of perhaps the third world war. No doubt enough experiences collected to fill my new book of poetry, but first my book SHROOOOOMMMMM or was it SHHHHHHHROOM? The latter, to symbolise silence, the secret of all magic.

Mountains, giants and mushrooms – in this fairytale-like collection, magic whirls and swirls, yet another reality breaks through as well – the whole world turned into The Shining, and the pilgrimage to Szymborska’s grave, a simple stone in Krakow, fails at the last minute; a journey without check marks across sixteen national borders to his daughter, however, succeeds. In its combination of fairy-tale nature, historical background and eerily topical reality, this collection of poems is Benders’ best since he lost count.


You have no time to read this, but that is because you are no longer human. If something of the original person were still alive in you, the old mycelia of childhood, then you would learn a lot from this book, indeed, with its magical knowledge, it might become your most useful possession. A book about the human imagination, and how it managed to get into the iron grip of trans-dimensional cockroaches. Furthermore, there are also magical tips to substantially improve your life and your time acceleration, and M.H.H. Benders also makes light-hearted mincemeat of the entire Dutch literature, what more could you want!

If you don’t want to crawl around mars like a cyber insect under a scrubbed boot – which is on the agenda – then you’d do well to read this book.

The first collected work of Martinus Hendrikus Hogervorst-Benders comprises no fewer than 712 pages and weighs in at least 1.4 kilos in thin print. It is the most ambitious collection written in the last thirty years, and certainly one of the highlights of Dutch literature as a whole, in line with Snoek and van de Woestijne. Anyone with a heart for literature and who wants to read an ambitious book brimming with cast-iron poems instead of yet another typical Dutch-language ‘masterpiece’ will be delighted with the purchase of this brick.

The Microdose Bible is the worlds most comprehensive and complete oversight of mind altering substances, teacher plants and mushrooms. Dutch mycologist and philosopher M.H.H.Benders takes you on a magical journey full of wonder about what teachers nature has to offer. Includes the Psychosupersum, a guide that describes all known mental disorders and offers wisdom for their treatment. 

This book will be published end of 2022.