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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Romanian bodies. An essay on A New Romanian Poetry

If you are searching for information regarding Romanian literature in the last 10 years, this page provides a few hints. You can notice that this is a work in progress. The links and the references to the text are in continuous process of developing.

I. Starting point. 1989

Before the fall of communism in 1989, literature was perceived as a powerful instrument. As in other ex-communist countries the free market and the explosion of traditional and new media proved to be a bit hard for well established authors.
In Romania the easiest way of organizing the multitude of directions proved to be a separation based on the year of publishing one’s first book.
This is how the 60’s generation was described as shifting away from the socialist realism imposed for the writers officially recognized in the 50’s.
From that point on every 10 years a new generation of Romanian writers was considered to appear. It wasn’t until the end of 80’s that a definite new way of approaching literature was promoted by the emerging writers of the moment.
The so called ’80s generation imposed the term of post-modernism in Romania reintroducing experimental ways of approaching literature that were continued form Romanian avant-garde movement. Writers as Traian T. Cosovei, Ion Muresan, Florin Iaru, Mariana Marin, Liviu Ioan Stoiciu, Alexandru Musina, Nichita Danilov and Mircea Cartarescu imposed gradually different ways of dealing with reality using textual marks of irony and fantasy. Recuperating the values imposed by beat generation in USA, poetry of the Romanian 80’s became very fast a way of affirming a different literary conscience.
After 1989, the new context became chaotic for a poetic voice to become powerful. In 2005, Mircea Cartarescu was the best known contemporary writer in Romania. His success was not in poetry, but in prose. His short fiction reached a wide audience.
Poetry in turn had to go two more so called “generations” of writers until it started to be regarded as a possible success for publishing houses in Romania.

II. The problem of “generations”

The usage of the term “generation” for the writes that appeared in the ’80s proved to work against the personal mark of each writer. When the public speaks of the 80’s generation in
Romania they see rather the common elements (that are not so many) of this writers works and less the differences that proved to be more fertile for the following years.
A group o writers that marked a transition from literary postmodern avant-garde of the 80’s to a market oriented literature managed to emerge in the 90’s in Romania. Poets as Cristian Popescu, Mihail Galatanu, Ioan Es Pop imposed a clear shifting of themes and aproaches from specific literary world towards a more borderlike realm.
In all this time personalities as Gheorghe Iova avoided the classification accepted by literary critics on the basis of generation. His writing, published officially just after the fall of communism was considered initially as belonging to the 90’s generation although his manuscript writings were pretty influential for the theory and practice of writing in the 80’s.
In 2000 started to be used the term of generation 2000. Editors (Nicolae Tone, Marin Mincu) launched the term regarding books like “The Coffee Baby” by Zvera Ion and “Anarchist Manifesto” by Marius Ianus. Marin Mincu, the critic that systematically anthologized and promoted the directions of Romanian poetry in the 20th century, affirmed strongly the apparition of a new poetry in Romania. Marin Mincu used the press and a series of literary meetings at Romanian Writers Union and later in The National Museum of Literature in
Bucharest to argue for imposing new tendencies in contemporary Romanian poetry.
Marius Ianus, already mentioned above, is credited, together with Dumitru Crudu, as the founder of fracturism, indisputably the most influent movement in Romanian poetry between 1997 and 2005.
Eventually, the discussions regarding the characteristics of the “generation” turned ineffective as the initial intentions of the new movements were abandoned and the discussions became more and more literary oriented.

III Contemporary directions.

a) Fracturism was not so much a literary movement as it was a state of challenging esthetical, political or ethical authority. For Dumitru Crudu and Marius Ianus, Fracturism proved to be not only a fertile banner but an opportunity of affirming the new search for rigorous literary discourse that can raise reactions from the reader. Marius Ianus proved to be an influent voice for formulating a poetic discourse that shocked and touched the audience of literature and not only. His best known poem, “Romania” is dedicated to Allen Ginsberg, the poet assuming explicit connections to well known poem “America” of the Beat poet. Subsequently, Ianus launched a so called “elementary lyrics” as a possibility of renouncing the extreme and sometimes superficial interpretations that the critique preferred for fracturism. Elements from Beat Generation writers as Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and from Romanian and Russian Avant-garde movements (V. Maiakovski, Tristan Tzara, Gellu Naum) can be considered as powerful influence for fracturist movement in Romania.

b) Books as “Fetish” (Razvan Tupa, 2001), “Pages” (Elena Vladareanu, 2002), “And Bianca Sat on Alex” (Alexandru Potcoava, 2002) traced different directions that poetry went from that point on. Each of this books regained literary conventions in order to turn them effective for the every day language. Their approach was new as it took the opposite direction to that of using every day speech for literary conventions. In 2005, “romanian bodies” emerged as an expression of perpetually challenging the limits as well as the necessities of clichés in communication and poetry. Influenced by Pier Paolo Pasolini, by Romanian poets like Mircea Ivanescu, Gellu Naum, the above mentioned books established a break through for a poetry written for a common reader.

c) Adrian Urmanov (”Cannonical flashes” 2001, “Utilitarian poems” 2003) and Andrei Peniuc (”A small animal” 2002, “Abridged manual of Terrorism” 2002) launched a so called “utilitarian poetics” that affirmed the need of a poetry written for the public, a poetry that uses the means of marketing and the language of music videos to drag readers to poetic message.

d) Dumitru Crudu brought something more than his colleagues. As he kept a close connection with new authors from Moldavia, Crudu managed to impose an entire wave of authors that came up with something entirely original for Romanian literature.
Over the years, the literature written in Moldavia (the ex Soviet Union country where the official language is Romanian) was considered at its best as equal with the literature written in Romania. After Dumitru Crudu emerged as a respected and remarkable new writer in
Romania it was clear that authors as Mihail Vakulovski, Alexandru Vaculovski and Mitos Micleusanu are launching manners that are original and full of a new kind of power for Romanian language. The influences from Russian underground poetry or from writers as Erofeev (Viktor and Venedikt as well), Sorokin or Mamleev became recurrent topics for aproaches of a violence very often accessed by new Romanian poetry. A very special exuberance of expression was imposed in this manner meeting the experimental intentions of a group of young writers in Constanta (South Eastern Romania) that gathered among others, Mugur Grosu, George Vasilievici and Mircea Tuglea.

e) A very special direction was opened in 2000 by Constantin Virgil Banescu (”The Dog, The Woman and the glance”, “The flower with one petal” 2002). The poet born in 1982 used to chant his poetry using traditional instruments.

f) A direction that shaped a very distinct part of contemporary poetry in Romania challenged the expressionist tradition. Claudiu Komartin (”The Puppeteer and other Insomnias” 2003), Dan Coman (”The Year of the Yellow Mole” 2003), Cosmin Perta (”Zorovavel” 2002) and Teodor Duna (”The Train of Thirty-first of February” 2002), although in very different way of each other, approached the hieratic manner of shifting themes and atmosphere effects without the astriction their colleagues expressed regarding the Lévesque. This group of Romanian writers took a grip into continuing aproaches by Paul Celan, Georg Trakl or the later developments in terms of atmosphere and tragic scenario of Sylvia Plath.

g) In Iasi (North Eastern Romania) acted maybe the most active literary group in Romania. Club 8 brought together writers that were not strictly people born in the 70’s and 80’s. Writers as Constantin Acosmei, Radu Andriescu, Michael Astner, Mariana Codrut, Gabriel H. Decuble, Dan Lungu, O. Nimigean and Dan Sociu shaped a so called “new realism” of the Romanian poetry. The Romanian new realism can be described as a poetic variant of the maximalism.

IV. The display of forces

The opposition to official literary institutions in Romania began with publishing the magazine “Fracturi” (a publication of writers involved with the fracturist movement). Although the magazine appeared just for one year (2002) its impact was tremendous especially for the literary Romanian society that was confronted with a new situation: a literary magazine that attacked constantly the accepted cannons of contemporary Romanian literature aiming for a wider audience than the usual readers of literature.
The headquarters of new Romanian poetry moved for a while on www. Internet sites as http://www2.blogger.com/www.poezie.ro or http://www2.blogger.com/www.clubliterar.com and http://hyperlitaratura.reea.net/ concentrated very fast the most active new Romanian poets.
Since 2002, different clubs in Bucharest and in other cities have been hosting regular events of performing and reading poetry. Club A in Bucharest organized the Fracturi evenings in 2002 and since 2005 it is a host for Poetics of quotidian a series of meetings that present writers and new books.
In Arad, (North Western Romania) a group of writers (Catalin Lazurca, Vasile Leac, Florin Maduta, T.S. Khasis) managed to impose a relaxed way to argue tragic situations.
Recently, new writers as Andrei Ruse or Sorin Dinco are introducing projects of visual poetry using the Internet as a medium of expression as well as an alternative to classical printed world of poetry.

V. Romanian Bodies. Table of Elements

Before listing a few of the most important Romanian poets that had emerged in the last 7 years, we should state that together with the above mentioned literary influences, the new Romanian poetry kept a very close relation with music. Diamanda Galas, Placebo, U2, Eminem, Tupac, Madonna being mentioned as recurrent creative motives.

a) The Exuberance of Poetry
-Mihai Vakulovski
-George Vasilievici
-Vasile Leac
-Catalin Lazurca
-Mugur Grosu

b) The Game of Masks
-Serban Axinte
-Dumitru Badita
-Livia Rosca
-Robert Mandroiu
-Andrei Ruse

c) The Neo-expressionistic manierism
Dan Coman
Andra Rotaru
Teodor Duna
Claudiu Komartin
Cosmin Perta
Tudor Cretu
Florin Partene

d) The Poetic "New (excesive) realism"
Marius Ianus
Dan Sociu
Dumitru Crudu
Bogdan Perdivara
Eugen Suman

e) Trans-textual poetics
Adrian Urmanov
Andrei Peniuc
Razvan Tupa

f) The chalange of the profound
Stefan Manasia
Linda Maria Baros
Adela Greceanu
Ioana Nicolaie
Constantin Virgil Banescu

g) The Traumatised Voice
Miruna Vlada
Ruxandra Novac
Olga Stefan
T.S. Khasis
Domnica Drumea
Diana Geacar
Oana Catalina Ninu

4 comments:

Razvan Tupa said...

An other essay on New Romanian Poetry by David Morley

http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/morleyd/entry/the_new_romanian/

VNTuongLai said...

__ You’re invited to view my latest video “684”__ a collection of some short poems. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QQVtsjdiDw )

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legend said...

Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story.



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