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Book Cover for: Magyarázni, Helen Hajnoczky


Helen Hajnoczky

The word "magyarázni" (pronounced MUG-yar-az-knee) means "to explain" in Hungarian, but translates literally as "make it Hungarian." This faux-Hungarian language primer, written in direct address, invites readers to experience what it's like to be "made Hungarian" by growing up with a parent who immigrated to North America as a refugee. In forty-five folk-art visual poems each paired with a written poem, Hajnoczky reveals the beauty and tension of first-generation cultural identity.

'Because translation between cultures is always fraught - and yet somehow translate we must - Magyarázni explores language and cultural identity in the permeable space fomenting between family and society, word and image initiating us into a new alphabet of lived meaning. In reading we wonder along with Magyarázni's wandering "you," we care and get entangled in the "brambles of your cursive," we too are "made Hungarian."'
- Oana Avasilichioaei

'Familiar but out of reach, Magyarázni reforms the language of home on the tip of your tongue, a language of knotted cursive and bubbled syntax; folksong and stovetop. Each letter blossoms as a hand-drawn flower and a sputtering drone of spits and pith. Magyarázni punctuates every I with a poppy seed, every C with the splinter­ed foil of a solemn treat. Mournful and personal, Magyarázni calls out for the language of family.'
- Derek Beaulieu

Book Details

  • Publisher: Coach House Books
  • Publish Date: May 24th, 2016
  • Pages: 96
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.20in - 5.60in - 0.30in - 0.30lb
  • EAN: 9781552453278
  • Categories: CanadianWomen AuthorsSubjects & Themes - Family

About the Author

Helen Hajnoczky: Helen Hajnoczky holds an MA in English and an MLIS from McGill University. Her first book, Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising, was published in 2010 by Snare Books, and imprint of Invisible Publishing, and was nominated for Expozine's best English book of the year. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Why Poetry Sucks (Insomniac Press, 2014) and Ground Rules 2003-2013 (Chaudiere Books, 2013), in the magazines filling Station, Lemon Hound, Matrix, POETRY, Poetry is Dead, and Rampike among others, and in a variety of chapbooks.

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