The title of Helen Hajnoczky’s book Magyarázni (pronounced MUG-yar-az-knee) means “to explain” in Hungarian, but translated literally the word means “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 father who came to Canada as a refugee following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Exploring first-generation cultural identity through written poems and folk art visual poetry, Magyarázni questions how universal, familial, or personal one’s cultural identity becomes under such circumstances.
Written before the passing of her father, Hajnoczky will read from the book and discuss how her relationship to this memoir and her cultural identity has changed through the grieving process. She will consider how writing, art, folk art, travel, and personal, familial and community relationships have informed her cultural identity through this loss, and what might be embroidered from these disparate threads of experience.
Helen Hajnoczky is the author of Magyarázni (Coach House, 2016), which was shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry, and Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising (Snare/Invisible, 2010), which was shortlisted for Expozine’s English Book of the Year award. Her chapbook Bloom & Martyr won the 2015 John Lent Poetry/Prose Award (Kalamalka Press, 2016). Helen shares her artwork, including collaborations with her late father Steve Hajnoczky, on Instagram @ateacozyisasometimes and blogs at ateacozyisasometimes.com/blog.
Her next book is forthcoming from Invisible Publishing in October 2021.
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