joi, 14 martie 2013


    Mititelu si Bichir, un bujor si-un trandafir...

    Elevi ai clasei a IX-a D la lucru, martie 2013

duminică, 1 noiembrie 2009


The Stalinist era, with all its implications for the individuals and for society in the biggest country of the world, produced a literature which excels in dimension and complexity. A relevant example is Nadejda Mandelstam’s novel, published in Romanian at Polirom, Iasi bearing the suggestive title “Hopeless”( In Russian hope is the equivalent of nadejda). The book is not only as an exceptional documentary value, but also a literary masterpiece, highlighting the cultural and literary life during the Stalinist era, as well as the relationships between writers and the Bolshevik power settled by means of mass rebellion and off-stage manoeuvres in that remarkable 1917 at Petrograd (later Leningrad, today Sankt Petersburg). The book is first of all a genuine monument which the author dedicates to her husband, Osip Mandelstam, an important Russian poet and a relevant example on the endless list of nonconformist Russian intellectuals who fell a prey to the Bolshevik pressure during the first decade of the previous century.

Actually, the book is a genuine novel, in many respects similar to “The Gulag Archipelago”, by Al. Soljenitin. Throughout those hundreds of pages, we follow up breathlessly, feeling both horror and compassion for the tragic destiny of a character - a Russian Orthodox Jew, Osip Mandelstam - who made proof of an exceptional consciousness in an era which he had the bad fortune to be contemporaneous with. By all account, the man sometimes falls short to the artist’s worthiness. Unfortunately, we have enough examples, from the tragic XX century, which testify this hypothesis; there are a lot of popular Romanian writers who- helas!- sided with the totalitarian regime after August 23rd 1944, on the ground that they were actually protecting their work, and not trying to achieve a privileged social statute. In the vast space of the Russian culture, such an example is the novelist A.N Tolstoy who was deservedly slapped in public by Osip Mandelstam. At the counter pole stands - the tragic destiny of the acmeist poet, Gumiliov (the acmeism was an expression of the Russian literary avant-garde, which was very popular at the beginning of the XX century, before the Revolution and a few years after), who was brutally assassinated / executed in the first decade of the 1920’s for his stately and conscious attitude looked upon as a defiance hinting at the Soviet power (just like the French poet, Andre Chenier who, more than a century ago, was the victim of the Great French Revolution).

The case of Osip Mandelstan - whose name is brilliantly abbreviated O.M (= homme, man; in Russian, celovek) in the Romanian translation – gives the reader an excellent example which proves by means of facts, and not of words that the worthiness of Mandelstan, the man, kept up to the mark of Mandelstan, the poet, in extremely harsh historical circumstances. Osip Mandelstam’s destiny represents the most eloquent example of what humanness means in an era marked by tragedy: to refuse the temptation of the compromise, cost what it may.

The author narrates with evocative talent and very accurately, in more then 80 chapters and over 500 pages, various stories and experiences which marked her destiny in a blazing and decisive way, especially in the roaring ‘30’s, the era of the great Stalinist repressions, which rolled over the Orthodox Russian people who, due to some historical fatalities, became the guinea pig of a social system which was supposed to institute humanism throughout the world, in the broadest and most authentic sense of the word (but the distance from theory to practice was once again enormous).

The Odyssey of Nadejdea and Osip Mandelstam began in 1943, when - as a consequence of a comminatory poem against Stalin (reproduced at the end of the volume) - the poet has been arrested for the first time and the two outcasts were forced to leave Moscow, in order to live in the obligatory residence in Cerdan and then in Voronej, far-away urban regions located on the vast territory of the Soviet Union. The Odyssey which took place in the historical era of great theoretical expectations and of factual hopelessness ended up with the permanent separation of Nadejda - this genuine itinerant Penelope - from her husband who had been deported in a concentration camp from the Far East, which was practically located at the end of the world; it was there where he died without any specification regarding the date and the circumstances, as we can read in the short note at the end of the book: “ the date of his death was not established. And I can’t do anything to find it out.”

The book which is as I’ve already mentioned, a genuine novel based only on real facts (“reality goes beyond fiction”) might be interpreted as a touching record of a woman’s devotion for the men she loves, and whom she follows to the bitter end and whom she would never abandon, just like those famous female characters belonging to the great XIX century Russian literature.

The Romanian version is well translated due to Nicolae Iliescu and it has a very good review and it includes extensive end notes (a veritable dictionary of cultural figures from Stalinist Russia epoch) and a rich introduction, written by Livia Cotorcea. The Romanian translation of the satiric poem pointing at Stalin, the one which represented the main charge against Osip Mandelstam the day he was arrested in 1934, is the work of the late Slavist and specialist in Russian literature, Emil Iordache.

“Hopeless” is a remarkable reference book, written in an emphatic and intense narrative style whose message ought to be remembered and whose instructions must not be ignored or minimized, because a society which forgets its past too easy is sooner or later condemned to reiterate it in new shapes which are not less dreadful.

Translated by Roxana Drăguşin

(Published in ROMANIA LITERARA, no 40 / 2009)

vineri, 25 septembrie 2009



The waste land, fills always again with hopeful
wanderers, continents, countries whose wide
backs hunters walk along africas, europes,
asias, americas, walk in big boots
through a split earth, history, war,
peace, conflict and forest – first of all forest –
to bring to the city a torch that was burning
there once but was put out by mistake by
a somebody and at the same time the lights went out
from all the city windows because even violently
blowing out one faint light in is an unforgivable crime
which nobody should commit but he must
resist like a bird resists in the hands of the
hunter. The laws of nature are simple:
the path will be shown only to the one who wants
to find it, and nobody is forced to find the path:
how to come along? To shorten the steps, to walk
slowler, to pick beautiful flowers along the path,
and leave berries for others too?
Would this be a start for a slow integration of
continents, the disappearing of nationalities, to a boat that
floats blindly in everyday life and crushes a rock
like a country that it was searching for without
knowing, always without knowing, because
countries do not have borders, continents
do not have pre-ordered routes and birds not only one
correct migration route: that is why a human being
must also believe in her wings and to shorten his steps.
Speed is the only thing we grow up to, when one has to
reach 200 km with a car, and the circle goes on, continents
get harder and bottles are thrown to ditches in bigger and
quicker curves, and the place does not matter because this
happens in the streets of Lekki and Helsinki, nature
has no price, no speed limits, they have been
marked in the shelters for no use, and the wheels
of a motorcycle hammer speed to a grey morning that
runs gasoline to the wounds and they fester more
and the sick tissue increases and widens to the streets like
blue-green algae to the Baltic Sea and we get the boil
here too, gangrene, dead face, Chinese
migration worker in tight working conditions, passing
western cars, some little hint, loosened wings
of birds in the air, from which feathers hover one by one
quietly down to earth in a silence that is like
after a crash or the end of a long journey

(From Elämää Lagoksessa – ’Life in Lagos’)


Rita Dahl (born 1971) is a Finnish writer and freelance journalist. She was vice-president and chair of committee of women writers of Finnish PEN between 2006-2008. She holds masters´ degrees both in political science and comparative literature at the university of Helsinki. Her debut poetry collection, Kun luulet olevasi yksin, was published in 2004 (Loki-Kirjat), and since that she has published three other poetry collections: Aforismien aika (PoEsia 2007), Elämää Lagoksessa (ntamo 2008) and Topics from van Goghs´Ear (Ankkuri 2009). She has written also a travel book about Portugal, Tuhansien Portaiden lumo - kulttuurikierroksia Portugalissa (Avain 2007).

She was editor-in-chief of the poetry magazine Tuli & Savu in 2001 and also edited a cultural magazine Neliö (, which had a special issue on Portugal, for whose printform Dahl was responsible. Dahl has also edited a partly bi-lingual anthology of Central-Asian and international women writers called The Insatiable Furnace. Women Writers and Censorship – Kyltymätön uuni. Naiskirjailijat ja sensuuri (Like 2007). She coordinated a meeting for Central-Asian and international women writers, which was arranged simultaneously.

She is editing and translating an anthology of contemporary portuguese poetry into Finnish. Her book Life in Lagos (Elämää Lagoksessa) will be published in Russian in Kazakhstan by Iskender in 2009. In 2010 she is publishing a portrait about Finnish poet Jyrki Pellinen (PoEsia).

Dahl has participated in several international literary festivals, conferences and seminars, most notably in international women writers´ meeting in Bishkek (2005), in Days and Nights of Literature in Romania (2005), in meeting arranged by Fenno-Ugrian Writers´ Union in Hanti-Mansinsk, Siberia and Petroskoi, Carelia (2005, 2006), in Book and Art -festival in Nigerian Lagos (2006), in Encontro Internacional de Poetas -festivaalilla (2007), in Arab-Scandinavian Female Poets´ Colloquim arranged by Swedish Institute in Alexandria, Egypt (2008) in annual meetings of International PEN in Dakar, Senegal and Bogotá, Colombia (2007, 2008).

Dahl´s singular poems have been translated into English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Icelandic, Arabic, Romanian, Estonian. Her poems have been published in numerous international literary anthologies and poetry reviews around the world, e.g. in The Calque (USA), Ice-Floe (Alaska), Períplo (Mexico), Confraria do Vento (Brazil), The Guardian (Nigeria), Knigoylub (Kazakhstan), Looming (Estonia), Nuestra Voz (International PEN), Shearsman (UK), Revista Prometheus (Argentina).

In 2009 Dahl was chosen as a stipendiate of literature by Finnish Cultural Foundation to the castle of Schloss-Wiepersdorf in Germany.

Forthcoming books by her are a collection of articles of at young age died legendary Finnish visual artists, young contemporary poets and foreign writers (Kesuura) and a fact book/pamphlet about Finlandised freedom of speech (Multikustannus).

duminică, 30 august 2009


Caroline Gill: Was it always your destiny to be a writer? Do you read and write poetry in Welsh and English?

Byron Beynon: I have a need to write. I need to say what I know and feel. I write in English and I've also written a few poems in Welsh.

You have written both poetry and reviews. Do you approach these two genres in different ways?

Yes. The process of beginning and writing a poem can be like a journey: the outcome can never be totally predicted, whereas when I reviewed for Planet, Poetry Quarterly Review, Roundyhouse etc. I had before me, so to speak, the completed book, the poems presented in the order, with the form and structure, intended by the writer.

Do you have any strategies or techniques for unleashing fresh ideas?

I wouldn't advise a dependence on alcohol or drugs, although Coleridge, Rimbaud, and John Berryman, to name just three, would have had a different viewpoint.

What was your first publication success?

My first published poem appeared in the Edinburgh-based magazine, Graffiti, in 1982; I remember there were poems by Norman McCaig and Alan Brownjohn in the same issue. The first time I was paid was by the South-West Review, edited by Lawrence Sail in 1983, with a cheque for L3.75!

Why is Swansea a key poetry centre? (In your opinion, of course).

There are several very good poets/writers living in and around Swansea: Alan Perry, Sally Roberts Jones, Peter Thabit Jones and Nigel Jenkins are some that come to mind. It is impossible, too, to ignore Swansea's association with Dylan Thomas, Vernon Watkins, Harri Webb and John Ormond. There is a lively literary scene, and the annual Dylan Thomas Festival in October. Maybe it has something to do with what Dylan said, 'never was there such a town'.

Can poetry be taught? Please could you tell us a little about your poetry classes?

You can create a feeling and understanding for it. I think for me it's the exploration of mood that is being taught and encouraged, although the techniques of writing can be taught. In my classes for Swansea University I have tried to stimulate, encourage and challenge people who have an interest in writing, especially poetry.

Do you welcome or resent the promotional aspects of writing? I am thinking of interviews / book launches / the judging of competitions / the addressing of writers' groups / touring, etc?

I don't resent the promotional aspects of writing, although it is important to see through the hype. The interviews, launches etc. have a purpose, to sell books: they can also add spice or controversy, but they should never get in the way of the writing, which the writer will ultimately be remembered for or not.

Do some poems write themselves or does poetry always require effort, revision, fine-tuning, tweaking?

Most of the time they require hard work and effort.

Formal or free verse? Rhyme or non-rhyme? Do you write your first drafts in longhand or on the PC?

Free verse and rhyme, craft with harmony, form and structure. First drafts, always in long-hand.

Do you bin much of your work or keep wrestling it into submission?

I put it to one side, return to it again, revise it, work at it, re-work and sharpen it.

Do you read your work aloud to yourself or share and discuss work-in-progress with anybody else?

Sometimes I do read my work aloud to myself, although as a rule I never discuss work in progress.

What are the vital components of your poetry? (e.g. precision, immediacy ...)

Certainly precision and an enjoyment of language. My poetry has been described as 'rich in association, well-crafted' plus what Sue Hubbard said in Poetry Wales about my collection 'Cuffs' as having that 'vivid sense of place'.

Do you keep a notebook and/or use a dictaphone?

I've kept journals/diaries since the early 1980s. Occasionally I'll use them for reference; a line or just a few words may trigger something.

Would you tell us about your recent role with Roundyhouse?

I was invited to join the editorial team in 2003, and remained until 2007. I was also responsible for the reviews section, contacting reviewers and publishers. I invited the poet and critic Raymond Garlick to be interviewed for Roundyhouse 15, an issue I put together in December 2004. The experience gave me an insight into the general organisation, layout and deadlines for such a magazine.

Why do you feel that poetry of place and landscape is important? I feel sure that Wales has something to do with this.

I was brought up in a village by the Carmarthenshire sea. My parents still live in the house where I grew up. It gave me a sense of place, which I feel is one of the distinguishing marks of Welsh writing in both languages. As Kathy Miles said 'To write about landscape… becomes an act of re-creation, an acknowledgement of the poet's own place in the cultural development of the country'.

Would you name a couple of favourite poets?

Poets who I continue to read and admire include the great R.S. Thomas, Idris Davies, Edward Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Tony Harrison and Waldo Williams.

What single piece of advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

Read and study modern and contemporary poetry/short-stories/novels, including quality literary magazines. Needless to say, read and be intimate with the canon of literature from the past.

You have taught classes on poets who hold strong political views (e.g. Harri Webb and Tony Harrison): how would you describe the relationship between current affairs/politics and poetry?

Social, political, economical and historical factors help to shape the landscape of a country; it is up to writers/poets to respond to what they see/experience at home or abroad, whether it’s unemployment, injustice, greed, Iraq, Darfur etc. I wrote some poems that were published in the magazine Wasafiri in an issue dealing with the Cultures of Terror.

What, in your opinion, is the poetic value of podcasting?

I believe it adds that human element, the original, recorded voice of a particular poet reading his/her work for present and future generations to hear and listen to. Imagine if the technology had been available centuries ago, we could listen to Dafydd ap Gwilym, Shakespeare, George Herbert, John Clare, Keats, Emily Dickinson, G.M. Hopkins: the list seems endless. I find myself wishing.

This is a chance for you to tell us about your published work. Do you have a presence on the web? We would love to hear about ‘Cuffs', your latest collection.

You can log on to the Welsh Academi site and find me there. (Click the letter ‘B’).

You can listen to me reading some of my poems on Poetcasting. (Click top link to ‘Poets’).

'Cuffs' (Rack Press Poetry) was first launched in 2008 at the Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury, London. It was a very enjoyable experience with some positive feedback; since then encouraging reviews have appeared in Poetry Wales, Planet, The Seventh Quarry, Western Mail, and I believe Agenda will give it a mention. Some of my poems will also appear in a Wales issue of Agenda, which is due out in 2009.
You can buy a copy of ‘Cuffs’ from Rack Press.
Rack Press Blog

Caroline Gill 2009

This interview was first published in eTIPS for Writers, issue 7, 2009 (editor Wendy Webb of Wendy Webb Books and Norfolk Poets and Writers). Caroline Gill wishes to thank Wendy Webb and Byron Beynon for permission to reprint this interview. Thanks are also due to Norman Bissett, who devised a number of the questions.

Wendy Webb Books

('Contemporary Literary Horizon', issue no 7 / August 2009)

luni, 24 august 2009


African American writers are preoccupied with the notion of blacks as marginalized and black literature as the non-canonical literature. Their literary careers start with the crisis of their identity as the respectable American citizens. They strive to redefine white/black hierarchy of mainstream discourse. Mainstream hegemonic discourse always undermines black's presence in the making of American literature and culture.
The first African American writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, Toni Morrison is a leading voice in current debates about the construction of race and black marginality in literature and culture. As a prominent writer of the age she refuses to allow race to be marginalized in literary discourse. Throughout her writing Morrison uses narrative forms to express African Americans' dislocated, marginalized oral tradition, and culture, and reclaim African American's historical experiences.

She profoundly uses the fictive narratives to transfigure the old south – the bedrock of black dehumanization, degradation and sorrow into an archetypal black homeland, a cultural womb that lays claim to history's orphaned, defamed and disclaimed African children. In her novels Morrison humanizes black characters in fictions that strive to overcome and excavate enforced invisibility of African Americans' social reality.
Morrison critiques the mainstream thinking and acclaims that black writers and black characters are the relative means by which text demonstrates to be human and superior. Imagination is possible in the presence of black characters and black contents. At the same time talking African discourse is inferior and submissive tends to impoverish cultural interpretation of reality. Morrison questions the validity and vulnerability of a set of assumptions conventionally accepted and taken for granted among literary historians and critics.
Africanist presence, in a constitutive part in the entire history has been rejected. Morrison in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and Literary Imagination proposes, "The contemplating of this black presence in central to any understanding of our national literature and should not be permitted to hover at the margins of the literary imagination." Morrison argues that American culture is built on, premised by, and always includes, the presence if blacks' as slaves and outsiders.
She likens the unwillingness of academics in a racist society to see the place of Africanism in literature and to the centuries of unwillingness to see a favourite discourse, concerns and identity. She posits whiteness as the 'Other' of blackness, a dialectical pair, each term both creates and excludes the other: no freedom without slavery, no white without black.
The major themes of Toni Morrison's writing is to redefine the notion of white American canonical texts and their idea of African American writing as being non-canonical or inferior. She demonstrates the idea of racial superiority and hegemonic culture in her writings. Morrison, in the preface of her critical work Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and Literary Imagination says she is "struggling with and through a language that can powerfully evoke and enforce hidden signs of racial superiority, cultural hegemony and dismissive 'Othering' of people and language which by no means marginal or already and completely known and knowable in my work."
Toni Morrison decenters the whiteness and its domination over blackness in America. She opines that whiteness always sees black or Afro-American [people as dead, impotent or, under complete control but this is lacking very important part of black people and their construction of social realities. Unlike the notions of white American Morrison claims that black slavery enriched the country's creative possibilities.
Morrison in "Afro-American Presence in American Literature" figures out that race does not exist (Bloom 203). When race does not exist there is no question of racial superiority and inferiority as such. The notion of white American as being superior is not true. She says that those who created the hierarchy of race do not accept that there is indeed Afro-American culture. Afro-American culture exists but it is poorly recognized or understood (Bloom 203).
Morrison focuses that contemporary Afro-American literature addresses the attitudes that have silenced the autonomy of Afro-American literature since the seventh century. The change of "There is no Afro-American art" is buried by the rediscoveries of Afro-Americans' works and their appropriateness to the present context (Bloom 208). Afro-American literature counters the label of Afro-American literature being inferior so that non-canonical texts can be incorporated into existing.
It is clear that Morrison's writing is different from that of mainstream white discourse, which always observes that African American literature is subsidiary product. Her intention, thorough her writing , is to reinterpret and redefine the hidden, dislocated and alienated Afro-American presence in American mainstream discourse and claim that Afro-Americans are no more inferior human beings.
Toni Morrison's fiction demonstrates a central interest in the issues of boundary, attachment, and separation. Her characters experience themselves as wounded, or imprisoned by racial and economic divisions within American culture. The boundaries that circumscribe black people are not only the prejudices and restrictions that bar their entry into the mainstream but the psychological ones they internalize as they develop in a social structure that historically has excluded them. Toni Morrison draws from a rich store of black oral tradition as well as from her own imaginative angle of vision to illuminate the potentialities for both annihilation and transcendence within black experience.
Black lore, black music, black language and all the myths and rituals of black culture are the most prominent elements in Toni Morrison's writing. She feels a strong connection to ancestors because they were the culture bearers. She thinks that it is the responsibility of African American writers to dig out that annihilated history and secure the importance of it in the making of American civilization.
Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970) examines the experiences of a young black girl as she copes up with the ideal of beauty and the reality if violence within the black community. She tries to demonstrate that people hurt each other when they are chained to circumstances of povertyand low social status. The ideal experience of white world and the actual experience of black people is portrayed in the novel. After being raped by her drunken father, deceived into believing god had miraculously given her the bluest eye she prayed for, suffering a miscarriage and being ridiculed by the other children Pacola Breedlove loses her sanity. Pacola's determination to achieve beauty and acceptance by acquiring blue eye never succeeds.
Morrison's second novel Sula (1973) is about the theme of the friendship of two black girls. One Nel Wright follows the pattern of life society has laid out for her, and the other, Sula Peace, tries to create her own pattern to achieve her own self. It is not only about Nel Wright ad Sula Peace but also about the cultures that spawn them. Her third novel Song of Solomon (1977) basically draws upon the concern for the quest for identity of a black family, which is disinherited and has lost its name in black America. Morrison presents her concern for African Americans and their black tradition, which is disregarded and marginalized in America.
In her fourth novel Tar Baby (1981) a successful black model and a young black male who rejects middle-class American values are at centre stage in a work that examines the relationship between men and women, as well as between blacks and whites. Her fifth novel Beloved (1987) is set in rural Ohio after civil war. It centers on Sethe Suggs, proud and beautiful woman, who escaped from slavery and kills her own daughter to save her from the torments of it but is haunted by its heritage. It unearths the historical realities of horrifying experiences during Middle Passage, Slavery, Emancipation and its aftermath.
Morrison's Jazz (1992) is based on the theme of music in the lives of her characters. It is a manifestation of the conditions of life among migratory Negroes, their family love, romantic love and desire. Jazz describes the consequences that result from migration, integration and geographic dislocation.
Toni Morrison ranks among the most highly regarded and widely read fiction writers and cultural critics in America. As a critic she refuses to allow race to be relegated to the margins of literary discourse. She focuses on the importance of African American's oral and musical culture and to reclaim black historical experiences. Morrison says that African American have rediscovered texts that have long been suppressed or ignored, have sought to make places for African American writing within the canon, and have developed ways of interpreting these works.
Morrison recalls the ubiquitousness of African American culture rituals in her childhood and adolescence; the music, folklore, ghost stories, dreams, signs and variations that are so vividly evoked in her fictions have been shaping and empowering presence in her life as well. The impact of these forces in her life has inspired her to capture the qualities of African American cultural expression in her writing. Morrison has described the influence of oral tradition, call and response, jazz and dance in her narratives. Yet the presence of myth, enchantment, and folk practices in her work never offers an escape from the sociopolitical conditions that have shaped lives of African Americans. Cultural dislocation, migration and urbanization provide inescapable contexts within which her explorations of African American past are located.

This article was first published in "African Executive" journal

KHEM GURAGAIN is a lecturer in Ratna Rayja Laxmi Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, and main contributor to C&LH for Nepal.

joi, 20 august 2009



Nautiluses, marine vegetation
club together
forming a wreath
in your thick dark hair.
It’s as though I’m gently caressing
at light’s witching hour
a fragile Camares style Minoic pot.

I’ve rounded off a captive arm
on the shoulder’s warm and matted
I can make out a primitive
sinful sign
but with each passing moment,
I carefully measure
only the glowing fire
of the eternal present.


have their unique way
of solving an unanswerable
They feel duty bound,
to star-stud the earth,
and that is enough!
Never again will they be able
to give more than they already have:
their entire being.
So do not cast your suspicious eyes on them,
stop saying their existence on this earth
is barren.
They’re neither ugly, nor beautiful,
they just are.


Any poem should be a deadly leap
over absences. Our Age
(mine and yours) should begin for each of us
along with the flight of the irredeemable gesture;
we should limit ourselves to two or three vital
objects and two or three vital books
the others should be sold to junkmen, as a luxury
we can’t afford anymore. We should
make a shrine for the humble and wretched 1
which cannot become 2 other than by
scissiparity. We should...

I utter ‘should’ and feel the cold envelopping me .


Today I might tattoo a poem right on the
inflamed skin, the skin that makes rain sizzle.
But I run away
from the drumming words of rain - though
it makes the body ooze out, the mind waver
in the heavenly obscure charm.
And yet
December comes once again to mind
the hardly dried sleek skin:
in the sweet and lofty pyrography,
how my lips would tattoo a poem

- I feel the poem’s nerves, its rope-like muscles,
its fleeting nature in my fist,
I touch it with great care, lest, pressing it too hard,
a bloodstream should gush out!


I offer
only to better possess,
as the purpose is unknown
even to me

In my stretched out hand
the thousand crossroads are throbbing
just as many ruthless whips
turning you, my beloved, into history.

A man – what a wonderful theorem - ,
you would have remained, hadn’t it been for my gesture
the same sublime sleeper who unconsciously aspired at cosmic indifference.

There’s no saving you. I will not spare you,
my denial. Just look how
future venoms
trickle on the roundness of an apple.


“Mihai Cantuniari’s poetry does not carry any documentary value. The poet did not let the lifestyle of the age permeate his writing. (...)
Some of his best poetry seems to have been written anytime, anywhere; however, not by anyone, but by a studious, solitary and isolated man. The reverie infused in his books is not “blinded”, as Elias Canetti’s character. On the contrary, he’s so sensitive to everything happening in this world that it makes him vulnerable. “

Alex Ştefănescu, History of Romanian contemporary literature p. 891.


I. Poetry

“Poezii” (‘Poems’), Bucharest, Cartea Românească Publishing House, 1977; “Ultramar”, Bucharest, Eminescu Publishing House, 1978; “Plante carnivore”(‘Carnivorous Plants’), Bucharest, Cartea Românească Publishing House, 1980; “Nova”, Bucharest, Eminescu Publishing House, 1980; “Cavalerul cu mâna pe piept” (‘The Knight with the hand on his chest’) , Bucharest, Cartea Românească Publishing House, 1984

II. Prose

“Bărbatul cu cele trei morţi ale sale” (vol. I din ciclul “Omul ca iarba”) (‘The Man with his Three Deaths, I vol. from the cycle ‘Man like the grass’), Bucharest, Humanitas Publishing House, 2007

Translations from : Mario Varga Llosa, “Războiul sfârşitului lumii” (‘The War of the End of the World) (1986), “Conversaţie la Catedrala” (‘Conversation in the Cathedral’) (1988), “Scrisori către un tânăr romancier”
(‘Letters to a young novelist’) (2003) etc.; Cesar Vallejo, “Heralzii negri” (‘The Black Heralds’) (1979); Christos Yannaras, “Libertatea moralei” (‘The Freedom of Morality’) (2002) etc.

Translated by Alina-Olimpia MIRON


Scoici nautili, vegetaţie marină
se adună
în părul tău negru şi des.
Parcă mângâi uşor
în miez de lumină
un fragil vas minoic de stil Camares.

Am rotunjit un braţ captiv
pe umerii cu luciu cald
şi mat
să desluşesc un primitiv
semn de păcat
dar clipă după clipă,
dogoarea numai o măsor
eternului prezent.


au un fel numai al lor
de a dezlega o ecuaţie
fără răspuns.
Să consteleze pământul,
fiecare se simte dator,
şi asta e de ajuns!
Mai mult decât au dat
nici că vor putea da vreodată:
simţirea toată.
Deci, nu-i priviţi suspicioşi,
nu le mai spuneţi că fac umbră degeaba
pe pământ.
Ei nu sunt urâţi, nu-s frumoşi,
ei sunt.


Ar trebui ca orice poezie să fie un salt mortal
peste absenţe. Ar trebui ca Era noastră
(a ta şi a mea) să-nceapă pentru fiecare
odată cu zburătăcirea gestului ireparabil;
ar trebui să ne restrângem la două-trei obiecte
de nelipsit şi la două-trei cărţi de nelipsit
iar celelalte să le vindem la telali, ca pe un lux
ce nu ni-l mai putem permite. Ar trebui
să ridicăm altar umil chinuitului 1
în imposibilitate de a deveni 2 altfel decât prin sciziparitate. Ar trebui...

Zic ar trebui şi mi se face frig.


Poate că azi voi tatua un poem chiar pe pielea
încinsă, pe pielea ce face să sfârâie ploaia.
Dar fug
de darabana cuvintelor ploii - deşi
dă trupul să se prelingă, mintea să şovăie
în neînţelesul descânt din înalt.
Şi iar
aminte-mi aduc de decembrie
de pielea cea netedă zvântată abia:
în dulce, semeaţă pirogravură,
cum buzele mele tatuau un poem

- palpez nervii poemului, muşchii-odgoane,
făptura lui ageră-n pumn,
cu grijă nespusă, nu cumva, apăsându-l
prea tare, de sânge şuvoi să ţâşnească!


Eu nu ofer
decât ca să posed mai bine,
ci scopul nu-l cunosc
nici măcar eu.

În mâna mea întinsă
zvâcnesc cele o mie de răspântii
ca tot atâtea bice nemiloase
ce te împing, iubite, în istorie.

Bărbat – frumoasă teoremă - ,
ai fi rămas, făra de gestul meu,
acelaşi adormit sublim ce în neştire
râvnea la cosmica indiferenţă.

Scăpare nu mai ai. N-o să te cruţ,
negarea mea. Priveşte numai
cum se preling veninuri viitoare
pe rotunjimea unui măr.


“Poezia lui Mihai Cantuniari nu are valoare documentară. Poetul n-a lăsat să pătrundă în scrisul său aproape nimic din stilul de viaţă al epocii. (...)
Cele mai bune dintre versurile sale par scrise oricând şi oriunde, dar nu de oricine, ci de un om de bibliotecă, solitar şi abstras. Acest practicant al reveriei pe marginea cărţilor nu suferă de “orbire”, ca personajul lui Elias Canetti. El este, dimpotrivă, sensibil până la vulnerabilitate faţă de ceea ce se întâmplă în lume. “

Alex Ştefănescu, Istoria literaturii române contemporane, p. 891.


1. Versuri

“Poezii”, Buc., CR, 1977; “Ultramar”, Buc., Em., 1978; “Plante carnivore”, Buc., CR, 1980; “Nova”, Buc., Em., 1980; “Cavalerul cu mâna pe piept”, Buc., CR, 1984

2. Proză

“Bărbatul cu cele trei morţi ale sale” (vol. I din ciclul “Omul ca iarba”), Buc., Hum., 2007

Traduceri din: Mario Varga Llosa, “Războiul sfârşitului lumii” (1986), “Conversaţie la Catedrala” (1988), “Scrisori către un tânăr romancier” (2003) etc.; Cesar Vallejo, “Heralzii negri” (1979); Christos Yannaras, “Libertatea moralei” (2002) etc.