Lehóczky, Ágnes

Ágnes Lehóczky - Carillonneur


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"Do you know what happened when Sheffield's owls and wolves met the bog woman of West Street? Ágnes Lehóczky can tell you this and much besides. She sees how a city can turn itself inside out and then outside in again. The magic of it is that in their many excursions her poems always stay on their feet. Perhaps it's the bells of Walkley you can hear, ringing once more in her mazy ghostscapes – I love the echoes between these poems, the weave of the voice/s or perhaps I should say the internal reflections of their concavities & convexities, wonderfully done." —Alan Halsey

Ágnes Lehóczky - Carillonneur

Published 2014. Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x8.5ins 
ISBN 978-1-84861-346-1  [Download a PDF sampler from this book here.]

Poems in this collection take a new psychogeographical approach in order to explore urban landscape – both known and new districts of Sheffield and Budapest. Written from the viewpoint of an outsider employing the palimpsestic texture of the prose poem, these nomadic texts offer, as Zoë Skoulding writes, ‘a means of exploring important relationships not just between two different cities or different languages or different periods, but also between the obstinate specificity of particular urban locations and the nomadic tendencies of language itself.’ This kind of border-crossing attempts to erase the boundaries of origins and identities, suggesting that human psyche, collective memory and disparate selves overlap each other's psycho-topographic maps. Collaging both factual and invented layers of history of cities, recycling the neglected and the forgotten, these poems continue to experiment with the poetics of almost-prose narratives re-mapping locations of a hybrid mind from amnesia and imagination.

[Citation from Zoë Skoulding’s chapter on ‘Ágnes Lehóczky and the Palimpsestic City’ in her Contemporary Women's Poetry and Urban Space: Experimental Cities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).]
"The defining image here is the bell, sounding across the city, merging with buildings and the noises they produce; calling people to thought, to contemplate the space across which it resonates, a note which leaves and returns to itself. The key resource is syntax. Ágnes Lehóczky's sentences stage a perpetual inquiry, a grammar in which new information is always coming into view. Sometimes the information comes from the environment, sometimes from the person moving; always the language draws other voices towards it. The poems are in prose – she is, as Frank O'Hara would say, a real poet. They are a gauge of the way we think through and about place. They stumble on commitments, corners of value. They record a life lived ordinarily and with great linguistic intelligence. Most importantly, perhaps, they are in dialogue – with the words of friends and contemporaries, but also with ghosts, the city's absent inhabitants. What they present is a civic space, a setting in which people have always gone before, for the history of which only the most richly textured language can be a real reckoning. This is that kind of reckoning. The pleasure of reading Lehóczky is sometimes like the pleasure of reading Ashbery, sometimes like the pleasure of reading Roy Fisher. Hers is a language brilliantly conscious of itself, but whose references points are real. Anybody can read this. It's a new map." —David Herd

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