LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 LAUREL PRIZE
Flower and flour. Coral and choral. Lashes and luscious.
Frost & Pollen is a poetry collection in two acts: “Bloom & Martyr” is a sensuous walk through a menacing garden of flowers and desire, while “Foliage” retells the Arthurian legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from the point of view of the Green Knight, the mysterious figure who teases and torments Gawain. By turns earthy and lush, and punctuated by dark and unsettling undercurrents, these poems converge into an engaging yet evasive feminine exploration of nature and sexuality.
Helen Hajnoczky is the author of Magyarázni, shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry, Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising, shortlisted for Expozine’s English Book of the Year award, and the chapbook Bloom & Martyr, winner of the John Lent Poetry/Prose Award. She can be found on Instagram @ateacozyisasometimes and online at ateacozyisasometimes.com.
“An impressive entry in Hajnoczky’s already quite impressive body of work.”—Winnipeg Free Press
“Composed with a wonderful lyric flourish and flow driven by a texture of gymnastic sound and cadence.”—periodicities
“Part eco-poetry, part Arthurian fan-fiction in verse, Frost & Pollen unfurls as a sustained meditation by a mature poet’s hand. At once erotic—imagine Georgia O’Keeffe’s floral paintings—and deliberately in dialogue with the earth, Hajnoczky presents a poetics that centres female pleasure and luxuriates in foliage, in imagery and language. Told partly from the perspective of the Green Knight, this work is mythical and imaginative, well-researched and deftly crafted. A delightful read.”—Klara du Plessis, author of Ekke and Hell Light Flesh
“Frost & Pollen is a verdant efflorescence of words blooming over an understory of myth, the lush foliage of its language, of desire and the garden, nature and humankind, balanced between Eros and Thanatos, between intimacy and danger, power and libido. It is a delight and a rich satisfaction to stray in the remarkable life and beauty of its lines. This is poetry filled with the force (and music) that drives the green fuse.”—Gary Barwin, author of Yiddish for Pirates and For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe
“Hajnoczky’s language flowers with whorls of sonic splendour. In this embodied and ecological exploration, letters unfurl, and time collapses as medieval and millennial mysteries mingle in a forest of swerves that will leave readers enchanted. Touching her tongue to the roots of language, Hajnoczky deracinates exclusionary practices of listening, syntax, and meaning-making in a topology of rapture.”—Suzanne Zelazo, author of Lances All Alike and Parlance
“Frost & Pollen continues Helen Hajnoczky’s spectacular interrogation of language and her experimentation with the porous boundaries between body and earth. Much like the language play of Gertrude Stein or Lisa Robertson, Hajnoczky’s text gives language an intimate flavour but also transmutes the familiar into the foreign. Her open questioning brings in subjects as diverse as female desire, botany, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Tense with desire, these powerful poems show once again, that Hajnoczky’s poetic eye is impeccable and her voice is one of the most assured in Canadian poetry.”—Sandy Pool, author of Undark