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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Original Romanian Literature with a Contemporary Visual Edge


The University of Plymouth Press runs a project of publishing major Romanian from past century. The books look good, sound good, there is a good chance that they would be surprising.
You can already find the poems of Ioan Es Pop and those of Mircea Ivanescu, two of the most influent poets for the Romanian poetry after 2000 in Romania. Pop is published with No Way Out of Hadesburg and Other Poems translated by Adam J Sorkin and Lidia Vianu.
Like a huge, bitter seabird
misfortune hovers over the block of flats
at no.15 olteț street.

only those like us live in these rooms. no families. here
life gets wigged down, death forgotten.

and no one ever knows who or whom, who with
whom, when or what for.
sometimes the wind blows the smell of smoke and the tumult of battle
from the catalonian plain.
(...)

from No.15 Olteț Street, Room 305

Also, a very peculiar style of poetry can be found in Lines, Poems, Poetry, by Mircea Ivanescu, a poet that had been ignored even in Romania for about 30 years until he was re-descovered by the recent three generations of poets.
I add here a whole poem.
is poetry different?
you mustn't tell stories in poetry - i read
this advice to a young poet - so i won't tell
how she'd awaken very early in the morning and, sitting up in bed,
wait to catch her breath, her face hidden in her hands -
i won't say anything about her weary look
that made her shoulders droop before the mirror, when
slowly she combed her hair. i won't confess my fears
beside her estranged face, turned away from me.
i won't walk anywhere with my lines in my hands as if holding a mirror
to reflect those mornings with their pale grey light
moments before dawn. poetry - so it's written - mustn't
be representation, a succession of images. poetry
must be inward speech. thus, should i
be speaking again about her drowned face, her gasps
for breath? but that would be only my way of speaking
about her face, about her freeze-frame movements fixed
between layers of turbid regret, of thoughts solely mine,
about her image - it would be only a mask, an image -
while she - her true self, what about that?


Twenty of Romania's most influential and award-winning authors are launched by UPP in a new series 20 Romanian Writers. Romanian arts have long been unknown in the West and this series aims to make a lasting contribution to the canon of Eastern European literature.

These works have been translated into English for the first time; the collection captures Romania's rich cultural diversity and artistic heritage. Selected by an independent Romanian jury of editors, academics and publishers, the series showcases the most notable Romanian novels, essays, poetry, short prose and philosophy of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Each volume is edited and comes with a substantial introduction which contextualises the work not only within Romanian, but Eastern European and Anglo-American traditions. Texts are complemented with a 16 page full colour supplement provided by some of Romania's leading contemporary visual artists. 20 Romanian Writers is a landmark collection of the very best writing, which has come from Romania during the past 100 years. More info and all the titles chosen for the project at UPP page.

There are some other good books of prose and more poetry is announced to be launced soon in the collection. The prose includes a book by M.Blecher, who died in 1928, maybe the worst known of the most powefull writers that have ever written in Romanian.

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