The Shapes Our Tongues Make, by Timea Sipos-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

The Shapes Our Tongues Make, by Timea Sipos

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Poetry, chapbook, 28 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

The poems in The Shapes Our Tongues Make track how I gradually became disillusioned with my life in America while falling madly, desperately, hopelessly in love with my birth city of Budapest.

I was born to two Hungarian parents in the 9th district of Pest and did not speak a word of English when we immigrated to the U.S. while I was in the first grade—first to Los Angeles, then to Las Vegas four years later. I spent most of my summers in the Hungarian countryside growing up, so I kept the language, but quickly lost my connection to my true hometown.

It wasn’t until I started my MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 21 that I returned to Budapest properly, and began to develop a private and intimate relationship with it as an adult—during the summers at first, then also during the winter break, until I finally moved there in 2019 and stayed for two years of the pandemic.

These poems honor this time of my life. They honor my search for belonging and home. They honor love: what it means to fall in it and out of it—with a person, with a city, with a culture. They honor winter: what it means to not have it when you live in the desert, what it means to gain it when you’ve lived most your life without it, and how to cope (or how not to). They honor identity of various kinds—cultural, sexual, and gender.

My hope is you will find, in some small way, a mirror here. That this chapbook inspires you to commune with your own dual parts (often dueling parts until we give them our loving attention, in my experience) and hold them with equal reverence. My hope is that this book inches you and I both toward integration and deep compassion for the varied, multi-faceted self.

Timea Sipos is a Hungarian American author and translator with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A former Steinbeck Fellow and winner of the Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival Fiction Contest, her work has received support from MacDowell, the Vermont Studio Center, Tin House, the Black Mountain Institute, and PEN America, among others. She has published with Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, The Florida Review, Waxwing, and more. Her translation of Kinga Tóth’s poetry collection Írmag/Offspring appeared in 2020 with YAMA Art and her translation of Márton Simon’s poetry collection Songs for 3:45 AM appeared in 2021 with The Offending Adam Press. Learn more about her work at www.timeasipos.com