Born in Budapest into a proletarian family. Deeply traumatized by his father's abandonment of the family in 1908. Lived with foster-parents in Öcsöd from 1910 to 1912; educated in Budapest and experienced great poverty. Attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide while still a child; visited Albania briefly in the summer of 1918. Profoundly depressed by the death of his mother at Christmas 1919. Studied at the Gymnasium at Máko. In 1922 his first poems were published. Prosecuted for blasphemy and acquitted. Enrolled at the University of Szeged in 1924 and expelled the following year. Studied French literature at the University of Vienna and wrote poetry in French in 1926-7. Became a Marxist during his time in Paris; returned to the University of Budapest in 1927-8. Unsuccessful affair with a girl of good family which led to him being hospitalized in an asylum for the first time. Became a member of the illegal Communist Party in 1930; began to live with the woman who remained his companion until 1936. Attacked as a Fascist by Stalinist Hungarians in Moscow in 1931, the year in which he commenced psychoanalytic treatment. Expelled from the Communist party in 1933. Fell in love with the woman who was his psychoanalyst in 1935; hospitalized with severe depression and mental instability. Committed suicide by throwing himself under the wheels of a goods train at Balatonszarszo.
The widespread contemporary interest in the poetry of the countries once collectively designated Mittel Europa has been one of the few benefits of a political climate of confrontation