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( 1957 )

» Remembering Change (2012)


István Turczi was born in Tata in 1957. He majored in Hungarian, English and Finno-Ugrian studies at the University of Budapest. He has worked in a ministry, as a freelance writer, radio and television editor, and TV host. In 1995 he founded the poetry journal and publisher known as Parnasszus. He considers it his duty to discover emerging talent and help them launch their early careers. Though Turczi is primarily known as a poet, he has published several volumes of prose over the past two decades. Central to his poetry – in the wider sense, and not in terms of sexual orientation – is a desire to understand what makes others different, behind which rests a robust Central-European identity and cultural tradition, which appears again and again in his writings. Th is is complimented by Turczi’s desire to map distant and unknown cultures, which organically fi ts in with his poems
about tolerance.

Remembering Change

István Turczi’s latest volume A Változás memóriája (Remembering Change) contains prose poetry divided into fi ve sections. As the title suggests, the theme of Turczi’s new volume is memory and remembering, and the poems off er diff erent ways of evoking the past. While some of the poems conjure up authors or works, Turczi progresses beyond the usual ways of preservation to ask: Is it possible to uphold tradition and memories through citing them? Th e main question centers on the act of repetition that citation requires, when repetition is simultaneously rewriting and a continuation of the original text. Small observations are the basis for most of the poems. Events and objects used in everyday life unfold before the reader in vivid description, but the events and objects, owing to the poetic self ’s analytical stance, take on new meaning and are seen in new perspectives. At times we can follow a player staring at a chessboard, or someone looking down from a tower or pulpit. In this manner, Turczi’s words refl ect not only on their topics, but keep the subject under constant scrutiny. References to Borges, Zbigniew Herbet, Jaroslav Seifer, Rodin and Itamár Jáoz-Keszt and the recollections of personal meetings with them mark the cultural reference points for the poet’s works. Th ese referential texts are interspersed with Biblical references that sometimes span several cycles of the volume and which are meant to serve as a means of understanding Judeo-Christian culture. In fact, these poems are at their most exciting when they can be conceived of as the rewriting and redefi nition of stories from the Bible. Palatinus, 2011

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