A Peruvian Autumn

I Keep Hosted in my Memory

Elí Urbina

I keep hosted in my memory
the placid image of the body of love.
Light must come again,
but now, in reality, only the rain
drapes the avenue as black birdseed.

Look at the slow descent of
meat’s thorn into the secret wound.
The brothel, its greed, absorbs my burnt-out soul,
my hope, thirsting of feeling,
for an instant, the deaf crackle.

In the gloom the prostitute dances 
with the sinuosity of a broad flare.
Already the longing gathers around in the mirror,
the shadow of my hand lengthens.

As strong as the pleasure burns
always her face inside me ignites.

From The Abyss of Men (2020)
Transl. into English: Sofía Leibovich

a view of an island city through a window
Photo by Leo Arslan

Opening an Old Fayad Jamís Notebook on Friday Afternoon

Julio Barco

In the winter of the summer I describe my eyes, I
the labyrinthine animal that still dreams
          opening the notebooks
between the divided rooms the score of life.

Old lovers buy
           dry bread in the cellars.

This poem starts here.
Foolish way of repeating the body;

This is the poem
Nothing but a shaky line that is
dream verse.

As the city sinks into depression
I separate signs and petals.

I am the one who watches over your name.
I am the one who observes
                                from your window the neighborhood
barely illuminated by the sunset poles.
The most beautiful youngsters are thrown
                                    of the Electric Towers.
The most beautiful young
               are launched from the Electric Towers?

My long hair is now a fucking form of
              walk against the wind.

Sailor of pampas, land, asphalt, poultry.
Girls commit suicide in their rooms
Yesterday everything was excessively sad
Everything will repeat itself or bifurcate the same
It doesn’t matter: I started another poem and came back
the same:

1. Inert object shakily disposed
                     on the table.
2. Street closed as destruction and desire.
3. Movement of machines & bodies.
4. This poem will begin when everything explodes.
5.Our bodies collapse.
6. We organize a concert in a body predisposed to joy
to correct this. Good.

                                 We will walk again.
I am the same one who drew
                  centuries ago in your womb
                                  A brilliant labyrinth of a thousand Sunflowers.
We repeat ourselves in the constellations.
                                  My fruit flavor intoxicated your hair.


A piece of jazz hissing through your body.
Everything changes and sprouts and multiplies.

The poems we repeat now are emptiness
Nothingness – a lilac flower.
Something mystically recognisable
when we are absence
looking behind the windows?
The beatniks have died
And Gary Snyder walks
The lonely mountains.
I walk the night.
You send your poems to other countries.
Reading the poem
leads to an understanding of its nature.
Nothing personal.
My poetic voice mutated in the neighborhoods
where we prepare lentils
And we boiled our sorrows
My poetic self is born
Sad blue lilac full of clouds
That the celery did not diminish
And so we love each other
Ambulances roam the city
Between Oscillations and Digital Semblance
In fornice
Of the silenced bodies
in the only concert that we give
At the time
in the only possible movement.
The Concert of our open green clear eyes
To the absolute mystery
To the burned factories and to the land
Did the young people jump from the Electric Tower today?
And we are And we run
And it’s cold in this damn city
That is my poetic art: our savage
the wind shaking your face.
Vague. Way.
I’m listening. I observe.
I am all this crazy movie where
Verb is beauty and lucidity a body
Looking for another.
I look for you.
This way of mine to flee is to pronounce your
The clarity of a dinner
well prepared.
Sometimes rooms or verses
Sometimes Stefan Joyce or Li Po
While we were cutting a tomato
Cool as the diagonal that
runs through my body when I touch yours.
When in yours I go back to mine
I recognize myself as a void between multiplication and clay.
When I hiss your name
In the mist of hearts.
This is my time.
Oh streets, I’m so sorry to come back
To live everything again
The poem will be a frozen room
The poem will be two bodies
The poem will be some dark images that I
I gently release between
The Axials of Terror and Glory.
The poem will be a path through the fire.
The poem will be a star.
The poem will be a way of feeling abstracted: a state in the crowd.
The poem will be the image of a man looking at the glass from a window.
The poem will be my hand looking for yours.
The poem is an angel about my loneliness.
The poem is a lost shoe.
The poem is your body
The poem is your mouth.
The poem is my destiny
Party in unrest.
Saturday without you.
We disappeared in the restless dawn
That you smashed in a can
of beer.
The body of the poem silently longed for
when we were two crazy teenagers
Seeking to satisfy our abysses
Oh Lima take me away from Minor Silt
Of the stars multiplied in my Phallus
Relatively common sentimental conversation
Facing the Centuries
Repeating the maze of the body
Labyrinth that I silently observed inside myself
Within others,
Within the total Other that is the Orb
And my mind opening between the cracks
Of the days / Smoke from the streets black prayer of the tuna
We will always long for the same poem
That perfectly leads us to ourselves
Labyrinth within Our Music
Music that croaked within our circumference
And I have rewritten our life:
Saturday or Friday night landscape
Looking for love on the long hard streets and
All the asphalt was the lost crevice of your face
We woke up looking for a ceviche in Puente Piedra
I still make love to you as the year closes with
Some rum in the room
10 lucas is all I have in my bank account
And I walk alone &
The poem
               it’s a mind game within our intensity
The poem
               It is the safe conduct to our temporality
The poem
                  is the concert of our honesty
The poem
                  it’s the concert of our decade
The poem
                  it’s your body, Antonio, Mara, streets, Miguel,
Ovid, Malaga, Omar, Agamemnon
The poem
                 between roses and glasses clothes and perspiration
From the fire of colours falling on
Your belly: wildfire, beauty, landscape, poem, theorem
Of chaos, fire, bodies that I deliciously
I became my alchemy. Eyelids
From the crazy city where I dance or play dreaming
This bouquet of wet roses that ended
Being my voice and my body, passion that is chaos
In mind awake where I slide
To know your eyes: what is
The Literary Work? What are your methods
In the garúa of faces and symbols
In the semen of infinities, what is reality? Ah, damn summer, you bastard
In the boredom of bitter girls
And I decided it embroidered on my hair a long
Grimace, a long beat of bitter flowers.
The speed of my rhythm. And here we start
This new notebook to protect my eyes
Of the folly of a world that is more deplorable every day.
And behind were the bodies that I silently loved
And behind, my house and the light from the windows, and the
Terrible affection that nobody knew how to give. And here,
In the showcase of loneliness, among the gardens of boredom,
I repeat your body virulently, I long
I rise, kiss, lunge, dream, I light up your voice
Intensely the voracity of our bodies.
And despair gave me this world that I
I turned on with the clarity of my mind. And now I do not bathe and I walk alone,
Disturbed between streets and hermit smiles.
And poetry was something that we tirelessly repeated:
Streets, bodies, pieces of a ballad that I placed in your eyes,
Insomnia, verses by Borges or Gelman, a ballad
De Manzanero while he was looking for the ideal epigraph
To simply show my intensity.
Chasing the writing was the verse itself.
The verse itself mutates into the plurality of I’s.
Perfection is not enough for me, I do not want the absolute.
Abstract thinking as an aphorism translated from English
To French, To Spanish
That simply reveals the chaos of a polished mind
As Kavafis thought
As I knocked on your door and you opened a quiet page
By M. Proust. I think we have nothing else left.
Except buying old editions of Verástegui
Find a volume of Eminescu to use his verses
As an epigraph
Walk, Walk, Breathe, Burn
Live it, inhabit it like a strange fire that haunts it.
Sing it, cry it, we inhabited the verse like a summer
Open with shorts and fear of going out on the streets
That was the saddest month.
I only want my little room where I dream verses
Or streets or landscapes that are necessarily another matter.
Another matter to describe the course of your mind
Inside silently sad computers.
And my sadness is miles of verses
That one day I will dream for you while
I miss you between the rooftops and loneliness, loneliness
And cats opening black garbage bags
Black tears of my still raging loneliness
Turned into a little hymn landing on the wings
Of the Lepidoptera. And it’s true, I’m depressed
Or sad or with a thousand rebellious sunflowers inside my eyelids
And my eyelids are all my crazy mind full of I’s
That, as Julio Herrera points out in metric verse,
It is the shuddering Me before the mud of the dough.
The Shocked Epoch tenderly overwhelming your sex.
And you shine so brilliantly.
Oh party, Lima is my crude city and my country
Lima is a luminous melody growing happily
and my crude way of walking and watching and scratching my music
Two young men haunted by hatred searching
A small room to love each other.
And yes, I am a boy and I love you, and I will shut up when you
Naked and I undress and we are this country
Open, shattered, cracked like your lips.
And that’s why I wrote this poem and started another
Within the same axial axis of your mouth.
Not this one, pick and choose in thickness
Of meaning the most. And what difference does it make to have
Been the fire if today we are but two
Silent truths. So far from love I speak
So far from faded feelings
That I reject my voice from another year, my loneliness
Now written between papers and cutlery
And this need to walk or stroll quietly
By rooms. I stared at a fly
That flew above volume two of the Work
Complete by Neruda. And I opened that little book of Fayad, the Cuban, Jamís. Days of getting bored and immediately writing the seizure
And convulsion is thousands of streets or pains. And all my power
It is to fix my eyes on you now that you are sobbing between
Your memories: streets, houses, shattered country, April
It’s the most stupid month, you know, you have to work
To pay for the receipts, electricity, streets, songs
And I also remember that we slept in the eye
Of a newly pregnant mother.

fashion photography of woman hands on chin with glitter makeup
Photo by 3Motional Studio


Walter Velasquez

Seeing the glow of your beauty
What does your beauty contemplate
Accompanied by your nature
And freshness

It is your face that amazes me
Quiet and distracted
Leaving my eyes blind
And my body turned off

Frankly I don’t know if this will be art
Oh no if it’s art, oh I don’t know if it’s art
But I can’t deny what it is
Brighter than ever
Have been seen
Oh blazing, oh blazing

About the Authors

Elí Urbina (b. Chimbote, Perú, 1989) is licensed in Letters and has a Master’s degree in University Teaching and Pedagogic Research. He has published the poetry collections: “La sal de las hienas” – The salt of the hyenas (Plectro Editores, 2017) and “El abismo del hombre”- The abyss of men (Buenos Aires Poetry, 2020). His poetry has been translated into Greek, Serbian, Macedonian, French, Italian and English. He is the founder and director of the poetry magazine Santa Rabia.

Julio César Barco Avalos (b. Lima, 1991) is the author of the books Me da pena que la gente grow (Arteidea Editores, 2012), Breathe (La Chimba Editores-2018-Writers Guild Award), Vastísima Architecture (Editora Huachumera-2019-Huauco de Oro Award), Arder (grammar of the dandelions) (Editorial Higuerilla-2019), The music of my head Vol. 7 (Language Peru -Editors) In 2019, he presented Semen (music for young lovers) (Language Peru – Editors). He is the founder and director of the TAJO group. In 2020 he published four books during lockdown: Des(c)ierto (Metaliteratura, Argentina 2020), the re-edition of Semen (Metaliteratura, 2020) and two volumes in Colombia: Operating System (SO, 2020) and Copy, cut, paste, load (Obra Abierta, Colombia, 2020). He is currently Editor of Literalgia and Lima Gris and Manager of the Poético Río Hablador Cultural Project (which develops poetry projects in El Agustino) and directs the website Lenguajeperu.pe, which is a new national blog of Peruvian and Latin American poetry and art. He obtained an honorable mention in the XI Young Poet of Peru contest (2020) with the poetry book Semilla Cósmica.

Walter Alexis Velasquez Mendoza is 24 years old. He is a journalism student at the Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University. He has been involved in literary activity since he was twenty years old, where he made his first poetic presentation at the Oral Poetry Slam, at the Reporteros Infiltra2 collective. He has participated in national anthologies such as “El Dolor de la Tinta” (Editorial El Verso Azul); “El Mar No Cesa” (Editorial Ángeles del Papel); “Al Lado del Camino” (Marginal Editions), among others. His writing has appeared in both national and international magazines. Previously, he worked in the Federation of Journalists of Peru, in the Diario La Verdad Municipal and the literary magazine Buensalvaje. He is currently an editor and reporter for the digital portal La Cuarta Noticias.

Like an Old Movie by Mircea Dan Duta

Translated by Natalie Nera

I’m sitting at Ginger Mary’s, a railway station pub in Ostrava. The place feels as industrial as the rest of this North Moravian city. A beer to say goodbye. An empty pint on my table. A pretty young blonde is sitting at the table in front of me. The femininity of her existence – her unreal blue eyes, her angelic face, her firm round breasts, her beautiful sexy legs, her narrow waist, her delicate knees, her thin ankles and elegant pumps, paired with the incomprehensible city of Ostrava… I am staring knowingly, urgently, and in vain. She doesn’t notice me at all. In fact, she doesn’t move at all, as if she were dead. Yes, I know she’s not dead, because that’s what I understand about Ostrava, that there are no dead blondes sitting around with a beer at Ginger Mary’s. But that doesn’t matter anymore, does it?

But what did I get from Ostrava this year?

A month (just a crescent) of authors’ readings, in which I was originally supposed to moderate thirty events, but in the end there were only fourteen of them.

A well-known poet promised to attend all of them, though he ended up attending only four.

I was invited to another illustrious reading, where, as the – would-be – main guest, I was supposed to read five poems, and in the end I barely read one.

A beautiful Slovak photography student, with whom I fell incurably in love, and vanished from the Ginger Mary’s together with two bright young classmates, without paying their bill.

The pissed-off publican who didn’t want to understand that I wasn’t really the father of those students, so I didn’t have to cover their bill.  The police officer finally solved everything by making me pay for his dinner in addition to their beers, liquor shots and plates of stew.

Futile dreams of promoting my poetry, if not in the Czech Republic, Moravia, Silesia or Ostrava, then at least at the Ginger Mary’s and at the Absinthe Club, and if not at the club, then at least at Les.

No beer at Dvanáctka, which is a theatre space.

A bottle of local liquor – Becherovka – gifted by the festival director, which doesn’t fit in my luggage, so I have to sip it in secret here at the Ginger Mary’s, or on the fourth platform at the Ostrava’s Central Station before my train leaves.

Two bus rides in full sobriety, to Brno to attend some conferences, followed by three drunken train rides back to Ostrava.

(I have never found the unshaven conductors on Czech Railways prettier and more seductive).

Seventy-two draught Ostravar beers, which I paid for out of my own pocket, and another thirty-six, which I would have been entitled to for free had I learned in time that as a festival participant I also enjoyed certain benefits, not just obligations.

The hands of the long-broken wall clock in my room, still showing three hours and twenty minutes of in all likelihood our era, as still as my empty pint here at the Ginger Mary’s and as still as the pretty young blonde at the table in front of me. I down the Director’s bottle of Becherovka. This year, like the years before, Ostrava didn’t show me any panties. My train’s on time. I won’t make it anyway. I don’t give a damn about them. Or him. And everything. I’m slowly falling asleep. Here in Ostrava at the Ginger Mary’s.

… to magically wake up at the Dragon bar in Brno.

A pretty, unapproachable blonde is at the table in front of me. She’s typing on her phone and smiling stupidly at the screen.

Next to me, a fat guy in a business suit. His cell phone keeps ringing, but he doesn’t answer.

The waitress is chatting with the bartender, they haven’t taken an order in half an hour.

There’s an empty pint glass on my table. Loneliness in Brno. In the old movie with the same title, they were just dealing with boredom.

I don’t know how they managed to bring me the first beer and cutlery. I’d like to cut my veins with the knife, which would solve everything, of course, but I don’t know how the fork would fit into the equation, let alone a spoon and tea spoon. And so, I hesitate over whether to stab myself in the wrist, throat or liver with the knife, and whether this would be better achieved with the fork, spoon or tea spoon, or just feebly with my own bare hands.

I look around once more. Certainly no one will teach me. The blonde is typing on her cell phone, the fat guy’s cell phone is ringing constantly and unnecessarily, the glass in front of me is still empty, the waitress is still chatting with the bartender – it’s getting unbearable. Just take the knife in your hand and then there will be a solution.

All of a sudden, the blonde giggles charmingly – you know, I’ve never heard such a charming and seductive laugh before; she spreads her beautiful legs like wings – spontaneously, unexpectedly, abundantly and willingly, oh man, as I enjoy the sight of her modern, transparent and immaculate white miniature panties, the fat man at the next table finally takes the last of these urgent calls, oh man, what a pleasant and willing corporatist voice, the waitress and bartender appear at my table, what would you like, sir, oh, man, how nice and helpful they are, oh well, I know what to do, life is worth living, the void around me can be filled after all, so I’m ordering another beer.

About the Author

Mircea Dan Duta (b. 27 May 1967, Bucharest) is a poet, a film historian, critic,  researcher and academic (he holds a PhD in the subject), translator (Czech, Slovak, Polish, Romanian, French and English), and writer who has chosen to express himself in another language – Czech. He has also produced and organised many literary events in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania. As editor, he works for Levure Littéraire (France, USA, Germany), A Too Powerful World (Serbia), Alephi (India) and Quest (Montenegro).

His poetry collections include: Landscapes, Flights and Dictations, Tin quotes, inferiority complexes and human rights (2014/2015, Petr Štengl Editions, Prague), Plíz sujčov jor mobajl foun senťu / Pliiz suiciof ior mobail faun senchiu (Next Page Editions, Bucharest, 2020, bilingual Czech-Romanian anthology). Examples of his academic work are: Narrator, Author & God (Charles University Press, Prague, 2009), The Holocaust in Czech, Slovak and Polish Literature & Cinema (ibid., 2007), The Czech & Slovak Film New Wave in the Social, Political and Cultural Context of the 60s of the 20th Century (Jozef Škvorecký Literary Academy Press, Prague, 2008) – last two titles are collective works.

His literary works have been translated into many languages and published in many countries: Britain, France, the USA, Serbia, Poland, Spain, India, Montenegro, Albania, Egypt, Syria, Korea and Kosovo. His poems have appeared in numerous international anthologies of contemporary literature – in the USA, UK, Mongolia, Spain, Czech Republic, South-Africa, India, Indonesia, Romania, Moldova.

Poetry of Peru: Melancholy and Power

Do you know any Peruvian author? No? You may be surprised to discover that the revered world writer and Nobel Prize in Literature Winner Mario Vargos Llosa is Peruvian. It is far too easy to place all Spanish writing literati from South America in the generic brackets of Latino writers without recognizing the unique and distinctive styles, voices and points of view they represent.

Yet, because of history, there are also similarities between countries of Latin America, dividing literature roughly into colonial period, modernism and contemporary literature, so typical for the region. Names of Peruvian poets such as Sebastián Bondy, José Maria Arguedas, José Santos Chocano and Martín Adán go back to the period of establishing national tradition and self-determination.

Having said that, we cannot and should not overlook specific historical developments of Peru as well as significant linguistic influence of the language spoken by the original inhabitants of the country, Quechua. From that, a strong traditional lineage of oral and lyrical literature has grown, and the voice of Peruvian authors rings loudly not only through the continent but through the whole world, echoes of which one may appreciate in the latest offerings of contemporary poetry of Peru.

We hope you are going to be as excited as we are when you read a small taster of its youngest poetry. The sadness, blue mood, even depression is paired with a surprising strength, daring to say the way things are, without being opaque, or nebulous. The surprising views and turns of the language are gripping and awe-inspiring. Even more baffling element of the poetry you are going to enjoy this autumn, is the ability of these poets to merge powerful narratives with lyricism.

In September, we are publishing poems by three men, Eli Urbina, Walter Velazquez, Julio Barco. In October, we are offering two formidable feminine voices of Karina Medina and Victoria Mallorga, complemented by philosophical and introspective perspectives of Jorge Ccoyllurpuma and Emilio Paz who is also our guest editor for this autumn’s translation feature. And finally in November, you will be able to enjoy mesmerizing verses of Lourdes Aparicion, Valeria Chauvel, Filonilo Catalina, and Willy Gomez.

We hope that this will add to the artistic flow and communication we want to encourage and facilitate as bridges, not walls spark human creativity and understanding.

Natalie Nera

Czech Poetry Spring

In our last instalment, we introduce Czech authors who were born in 1940s and 1950s and thus spent a large part of their lives in an undemocratic regime. They represent poets that do not normally get selected for translation by academics or editors although Tomáš Míka who translates his own work, has been published and known internationally. He moves in multi-lingual cultural spaces with ease and inhabits them with irresistible charm. However, there are many reasons for the lack of representation in translation: behind the Iron Curtain, post Jaroslav Seifert & Nobel Prize for Literature, and with enormous success of Miroslav Holub in English, hunger for Czech poets rapidly decreased. Moreover, over the years it has been overshadowed by the proximity of the bigger, and thus more significant Poland.

And there is the issue of translation itself. Jiří Dědeček is a singer and songwriter as well as outstanding translator of many French texts into Czech. His poems reveal that musicality, and with rhymes, so natural in Czech, pose a difficulty in other types of languages, namely English (and I have tried my best to do his text justice). Jiří Žáček is incredibly popular and even those who do not read poetry and do not know any other poet, know his name. His poems are recited to toddlers by their mothers, school children find his texts in their reading books. However, his easy and playful rhymes, self-deprecating sense of humour do not travel well. Moreover, at present rhymes are sneared upon in Czech poetry, as one unnamed editor of a prestigious literary periodical explained to me, We don’t do rhymes anymore, that is not how you are supposed to write. This rejection of rhyme in contemporary poetry is even more surprising because a rhyme in Czech is as natural as is iambic pentameter in English.

And then there are poets who made their names in other parts of creative industry. Daniela Fischerová is famous as a scriptwriter, playwright and prose writer both for children and adults. She was also a close associate of president Václav Havel, another playwright who had made his name worldwide before leaving his mark in Czech history and politics in the 1990s. On the other hand, Olga Walló is a true legend of translation, radio, TV and film, admired by many, even worshipped.

Olga Nytrová represents a stream of Czech poetic output that gets rarely noticed or mentioned even locally – she is a spiritual and philosophical writer who uses verse as a medium of expressing and unpicking her understanding of the world and universe with a large number of successfully published books.

Natalie Nera (All texts below are translated by me apart from Tomáš Míka, the translation is his own.)

And the Blues

A Blues
The blues
no blame here
and with you

Your rhythm I hear
lost and dear
myself, adieu

My soul 
turns to dust
and what 
attracts me

to you
are lost
of a refugee

the old place
and somehow
have answers

Greeting all
who are disgraced
and prostate

A blues
The blues
what can I change
the unchanged revivalist

I in you 
With no roots
growing for 
my wreath

My blues
You are like the story about a maid
is waiting to be saved,
by the pen that becomes blade

From Pošta shora, 2019 publisher

Looking Back

Lot’s wife looked back
And at once

Orpheus looked over his shoulder
And at once

I have a contract with my memory
That some videos are not going to be shown anymore
 In return I give up
Names foreign languages and addresses
My memory demands more and more

Right before the end
 I am going to look back
 And in one horrifying glimpse
I will face myself
Like a naked old octopus
That will see herself in the mirror for the first time 

From Potvora mlsná, příběhy, portréty

Stripping off
I’ve stripped off my thirst while waiting
I'm almost a stranger
as before
back then long ago
deliberately distancing closeness
Only when it's not within reach
I am calm and at the same time I’m not
Only then do I pull my hands out of my pockets
and use them as a welcome
So far, just a picture
not painted yet
And I immediately turn my back on it
and start to run
never to come back
I know I'll find you farthest
from you


At her wailing wall
he didn't shed a tear
even the wall fell silent
very desirable
but he was unwelcome
with a fishing rod
without a hook


I tend towards the minimal
closing both my eyes and doors
all other entrances and exits
restricting movement to breathing
Sleep is not coming
but the encounter is drawing near
I know it

Transl. by the author

Socrates’ glass 

Eyes full of tears
the irritating Prague air
tired bronchial tubes
nasopharynx full of pus

Breathe in again
a clean sip of air
hear the seagulls by the sea
catch the rhythm of the waves
Socrates’ glass
full of red wine
left next to the scented sticks
and the slender candle

Let the words flow
like a tune
their juicy flesh
taking in like paradise fruit from the lost beach.


You shouldn’t trust me at all
I can lie but not well

It’s dark outside like in the light well 
An unlikely likening
The dark outside with daggers and a spell
And courage badges
Ice melting in the mountains I climb
Every day something happens 
for the last time
From Láska k stáru (Love in the Twilight Years)


If our ancestors had wings,
they would fly.
But our ancestors were fish 
God knows why.
(Approximately half a billion years ago.)
Perhaps to you, that’s a blow?

Back then, the strangest creatures roamed the seas:
Their eyes of a fish,
Teeth of a fish, 
Fins of a fish, 
A tail of a fish -
their missing-wings – a secret wish.
But evolution supports constant change.
I think of those wings all the time 
And how it’s all arranged.
I hope our descendants  
Will really try
And in gazillions of evolutionary days,
Powered only by their arms,
they will reach the sky
The fish will be amazed!
The salamanders will be amazed!
The mammals will be amazed!
And you will be amazed, it’s not just a phase!



Jiří Dědeček (b. 1953, Karlovy Vary) is poet, translator, educator, singer-songwriter. He was educated at a specialist secondary school for languages. In 1976 he graduated in librarianship from Prague University and was conscripted to the army, after which he worked in the Prague Language School as an interpreter in French. In 1983 to 1987 JD studied script writing in FAMU (Prague Film Academy).
He started writing in 1974, and his output includes poetry, songs, plays and musicals. “Because the possibilities for publishing any of my work were practically non-existent, I started singing in clubs and theatres. And so for this reason I am mostly known in my country as a folk singer. I see the texts of my songs as the main area of my creativity. The music is simple, but it si there to help convey the thought.” His publications include: Texts (1982), published by the Club of Friends of the Semafor Theatre; What happened in the ZOO (1987), from the children´s publishing house Albatros; The moon over the housing estate (1987); etc… In 1988 his translations of Georges Brassens´songs from the French was published. His recent collection of poems Questionnaire was firts published in Munich, and, after the revolution, in Czech Republic

Daniela Fischerová, b. in 1948 in Prague, is a prominent Czech writer, playwright and script writer as well as an award-winning author for children. For many years, she worked as an editor in a publishing house. In the 1990s, she was one of the close advisors of President Václav Havel. She currently teaches creative writing. More information at https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniela_Fischerov%C3%A1.

Tomáš Míka was born in 1959 in Prague, Czech Republic. His original work includes books of poetry “Nucený výsek” (Destruction of Animals), 2003 and “Deník rychlého člověka” (Journal of a Fast Man), 2007 and “Textové zprávy” (Text Messages), 2016. His book of short stories “Und” was published in 2005. He works as a translator from English, among the authors whose works he translated are Samuel Beckett (Watt), John Bunyan (The Pilgrim’s Progress), James Hogg (Confessions of the Justified Sinner), Jack Black (You Can’t Win). He lives in Prague.

Olga Nytrová (b. in 1949 in Prague) is an academic, philosopher, editor, poet, playwright and writer. She is head of Prague’s Writers’ Society and literary-drama club Dialog na cestě. She also works in clerical service of Czechoslovak Hussite Church. She represents a spiritual brand of Czech poetry. More information at https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_Nytrov%C3%A1

Olga Walló was born in 1948 in Prague. She read philosophy at the Charles University and then carved a successful career as film dubbing director, writer and translator of literary texts, including Shakespeare etc. She has always written poetry but started publishing her poetic texts at the age of fifty. She currently lives in a remote cottage in the middle of the deep mountain forest in the Czech Republic but counts among legends of Czech radio, film, television, literature and literary translation.

Jiří Žáček, born in 1945 in Chomutov, is a writer, poet, playwright, translator and author of textbooks for young learners. With accolades of national and internation awards, he is truly a national treasure. His poems are known to generations of children and adults alike, popular for their melodic grasp of Czech language, easy rhymes and wit. More at https://jirizacek.cz/ and https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ji%C5%99%C3%AD_%C5%BD%C3%A1%C4%8Dek

Introducing Four Czech Poets

Not only about the Presence
by Adam Borzič

Since Berlin you want to write a poem so simple,
That you repeat for a hundred times words like banality, presence, black currant…
You read your notes in your mobile; its display is somewhat scarred, 
Which now seems to me fitting. You read in them you cannot turn back time. There is nowhere to return it.  So the sadness of the past is forever only an echo, 
Falling through a large sieve like a noodle, while the ladle still hangs
On the wall, and the sky is grey and the stairs look they lead to hell,
But they don‘t. So you open the door, the defeat of the meaning disappears,
Only a chest with tulips on top remain.   

You thought of poetic scenes,
And they are your new nightmares, your love poems
For more and more men and one woman, topical only for the polyamory, 
But you won’t confess it publicly, so you suffer from nightmares,
That fall on the professor’s bald head 
Several days after his radio programme was cancelled,
Which is also your fault, and on top of that, he has to introduce you. . 
Through a strange eye of a while, climbs an insect’s futility and all that love
It feels to be threatened with the polite interest
Of the audience, say in Berlin... 

At night you whisper to yourself: 
They kept coming to me
And the doors got opened
And the door got closed
And they kept asking: 
What do you want? What do you want? 

And their voices sounded like thunder in the larder,
Like a spike in the wet sand. 

The wind of nervousness is luckily asleep. It’s November. 
Berlin kept October to itself together with the beautiful Tereza
And beautiful Jan, together with the beautiful black man at the reception, 
Who, aged fifty, married a Czech man who hates his countrymen. 
Now at last November. A month of simplicity. As well as a month of joy.  
Far behind are left poetic scenes, orphaned like a lighthouse on an island
In the middle of the North Sea. The chairs are empty, tables by the wall, 
Toilets sparkle with cleanliness. Standstill. 
So you are happy about a repaired tap in the kitchen, 
Several outstanding poems I have read today, 
Interviews with Olga and Ivan. And naturally,
walking. Sometimes modest, other times self-confident, 
ever so often meek like wrinkles on Ivan’s face, 
ever so often magical like the night full of yellow tobacco leaves
on the pavement, and nautical apples,
which you stole in your dream. 
And then you laughed about it.  
by Aleš Kauer

The old whore, bored and willing
to walk along each generation all over again. 
I am like Prague begging for a photo, 
like a foreigner pleading for love,
like a tourist believing in virtual values. 
I am exploding tenderness and misguided imagination. 
I sweeten the bitter dregs with two sugar cubes from the nearby street. 
On the window – a spider of yesterday’s explosion. 
You fall asleep with an i-Pod in your hand. 
With pleasure, enjoyment and neurosis within my reach. 
With assurance there is another 
chamber full of light.

The shining pause between two lives. 
I want to be your confidence, 
I want to be your talent with the real inner complexity, 
with the spectrum of cynical,     

caustically witty and snap observations. 
I want to be your address in the yellow Moleskin, 
your artefact and adrenalin.

Wink at me so I am sure you know what I am talking about!

We touch our anxieties like razor blades. 
Unshaven strayed people on the polar maps. 
Yet, in all that lived-in melancholy 
is so much truth, ugliness, humour, beauty,
there is only one answer in existence… 
To go out and live!

perro callejero 
by Tim Postovit

avenida as long as the arm of your mother
when she placed an ice-cold towel
on your forehead sweaty with fever 

the café is as small as your soul 
when a street dog scared you for the first time
because you understood you would follow him 

the man’s teeth crack the grains of sand
from the sandals of Mary Magdalene

who, in the act of reconciliation, hands you a neon clavicle bone
so you can sell it at the market –  easily  
like boiled sweet corn 
like sheep cheese 

and for the money you make, you buy 
a ticket home
by Josef Straka

swirling pressure
intractable words, repeated over and over
a little corner at the boat’s bar
there is nowhere to sail off
not even inside you
with all the barricades – on and on churning something
going out – somewhere to the upper deck
and watch the last ray of the fading day
with a certain trace of additional hope and hope-lessness
and then you really abandon the boat
the reverberating sound of lock chambers
what with what and against what
and what in unclear circumstances
and what completely explicitly, what acutely
unbidden questions when sinking
perhaps not, the other un-said negatives!

All translations by Natalie Nera

About the Authors

Adam Borzič (born in 1978) is a poet, mental health therapist , translator as well as editor-in-chief of the prominent literary bi-weekly Tvar. He is the author of five poetry collections. In 2014 he was nominated for the Magnesia Litera literary award. His poems have been translated into Polish, English, Romanian, Croatian, Serbian, Russian, Slovenian and Portuguese.

Aleš Kauer (born in 1974) is a Czech poet, artist and activist who tries to highlight the issues of gay writers and poets. He has five collections under his belt and is also a founder of an artistic collective Iglau Ingenau as well as the Adolescent publishing house in Šumperk

Tim Postovit (b. in 1996) is a poet and translator from Russian. He studies philology at the Charles University in Prague. His first collection Magistrála (published by Pointa) came out in 2019. He is currently working on his second book. Moreover, he frequently performs in the genre of slam poetry. In 2019, he became a champion of the Czech Republic in duo slam. He teaches Czech as a second language. He lives in Prague.

Josef Straka (born in 1972), originally worked as an academic researcher in psychology for the Institute of Psychology. At present he organises literary readings in the City Library in Prague. He is an author of several critically acclaimed collections. His poems have been translated into Polish, Serbian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, English and Dutch.


Introducing Four Czech Poetesses

Our journey through the Czech poetic landscape starts with four strong female voices of their generation. Naturally, there could be many more and of other generations, and we hope that in the future, we can expand the offerings. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy these four powerful samples.

 Jana Orlová
 The ancient gods are still online
 I would like to lie with hops
 overgrown in the woods like my fur
 in the strained fascia of a clerk
 I will measure out my desire for you with steps
 torture for the advanced
 and I know there's still time because
 the ancient gods are still online
 Translated by Phil Jones

 Lenka Kuhar Daňhelová
 On the Task of H.G. Adler
 We are bereaved,
 For all of those who are no longer.
 The living for the dead.
 We are the chronicles of the dead.
 Being the history of shadows,
 Not a recollection,
 Being a memory.
 What a task!
 Moreover, to prove  
 How to be yourself!
 This tangle, entwined,
 Is my property.
 It’s for the best to
 Leave it alone.
 Crossings. Passages.
 Only when I picture them,
 I am able to understand that I am a survivor.
 Of myself and my history.
 Who once, in this situation…
 I am not!
 What can I do about it?
 Oh, what a task,
 My invisible wall,
 To be!  

Olga Stehlíková
In the Traffic Jam
 I spend my time in the traffic jam.
 I am always on the way somewhere.
 I spend my time in the traffic jam:
 it slows down,
 Everything stops for the time being,
 in the workday hustle and bustle.
 Then time relaxes, freezes,
 rips apart its own abdomen and reveals its insides 
 that still emit the fumes,
 These are the moments when I realise
 my finality,
 When finally,
 I know what to do with my hands
 -        the steering wheel feels like the human skin -,
 when I catch my own glimpse in the rear mirror,
 although I stare ahead.
 I call you to call me,
 in the empty car, I utter aloud
 your name, sound after sound,
 but you don’t call or answer,
 because you are driving,
 you’re in the flowing traffic,
 your gear has been in five for a while
 and you have no reason to lower it.
 These are the moments I can see
 inside the surrounding vehicles –
 they are so near,
 the lesser and the great Ploughs,
 the little and the big girls in it,
 little stars for indicators,
 extra delicate angry moves.
 The Czechs don’t know the art of merging,
 even though it is so simple.
 These are the moments of contemplation,
 when time becomes relative,
 when unexpectedly, in unfamiliar diversions 
 memories emerge,
 like seals by the holes in ice,
 when I remind myself,
 I ought to go and see the grave,
 that your path is smooth,
 that I managed only a little
 that I haven’t had my supper.
 I spend my time in the traffic jam.
 Children in the backseats shout at life,
 they are at the age when life still listens
 to their screams. Google responds to
 my key word.
 Securely fastened seatbelts,
 anatomically shaped seats amongst breadcrumbs,
 This is the best place for them,
 one day they may scream their way out of them, perhaps they already sit in their own urine.
 The steering wheel skin is so humanlike,
 I check myself in the rear mirror:
 a seventeen-year old, wild, seat-belted
 old lady with a license,
 a favourite mug and full tank.
 No, we won’t make it today.
 I have only one time, which
 makes it a rare commodity, uncountable.
 I devote my time, I give it
 away in tiny, neat parcels,
 It is an invisible charitable act,
 which I am going to deduct.
 My photo is in all my documents.
 Look, the box here under the dashboard
 is so deep. Like Grand Canyon.
 What you put in nobody will ever see.
 Once I entrusted myself to the headed, embossed paper.
 The jam is in the intestines of a withheld argument.
 I will never get rid of metaphors.
 Hold onto the gear!
 From the tailback in the next lane
 A man in the city jeep gazes at me,
 perhaps my lights are not on, or
 I am bad at pulling away, I am sloppy with my clutch
 -        he is always by my side.
 The sideview of profiles one the left and right.
 The front view is only enjoyed before
 the head-on collision.
 Look at all the control lights,
 so much I have to watch,
 to make sure the kids grow up and no one badmouth them
 -        still, their warning lights will be on one day.
 No, we won’t make it today,
 my sweet ones,
 I purr like an engine.
 the crash barrier lures you more than an Oreo tartlet,
 blacker than tarmac.
 Not far behind them
 a strange city, in which we live,
 from which we try to climb up
 in the dangerous, small, mobile,
 carefully serviced homes.
 Not far behind them wild shrubs
 with the young ones, who are soon going to fly out
 across six lanes of the motorway, succeeding for the first time.
 Simona Racková
 How Long
 How long does forgiveness take?
 Six years, five months and twenty-four days.
 I walk against the grain of time, while listening,
 As my husband and my son play chess for the first time:
 You can’t make a move twice in a row,
 You have just lost your queen.
 Last night I dreamed of giving birth to twins,
 One was born dead.
 I ought to be happy about the one I have
 -        the reddened, wrinkled fingers, hair still stuck together,
 black strands, we two skin to skin -,
 or should I mourn the one that has died?
 Since I didn’t watch the egg enough, not enough:
 I pushed the box back haphazardly, piled on more things.
 And it was made from brittle, dark chocolate.  

All three poems translated by Natalie Nera

About the Authors:

Lenka Kuhar Daňhelová (born in 1973 in Krnov) is a translator, author, poet and artist,  and together with her husband, director and co-founder of an international poetry festival Aside/European Poets Live.  She has authored four poetry collections, one novel – her output, including translations, is more than 22 books to-date. In 2013, she was awarded Lirikonov Zlát for an outstanding translation from Slovenian.

Jana Orlová (1986) is a Czech poet and a performer. She published “Čichat oheň” („Sniff the Fire“) with her own illustrations at Pavel Mervart publishing house in 2012 and “Újedě” her second book of poetry at Větrné Mlýny publishing house in 2017. Her works appeared in “Nejlepší české básně” (Best Czech Poems) at Host publishing house in 2014 and 2018. She released poetry book in Ukrainian and Romanian in 2019. Her poems were translated into Hindi, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Belarusian, Polish, Bulgarian, Greek and Italian. She treats performance art as living poetry. She gained the “Objev roku 2017” Breakthrough Act Award 2017 at Next Wave Festival for “crossing the boundaries of literature, fine art and theatre naturally and with ease”. She gained the Dardanica Prize in 2020. Her work is to be seen at www.janaorlova.cz. A recent translation into Spanish in https://liberoamerica.com/2020/11/21/mitologia-del-rio-vol-i-destino/?fbclid=IwAR2uuwX3eNC-jD8DmWCH9uolzMISnrlvc4s3cNfa4n4B4dJcl6XmUgEYYMQ

Simona Racková (born in 1976 in Prague) is an editor, poet and literary critic, head of the Review at the prominent literature bi-weekly Tvar. She received the Dresden Lyrical Prize (Dresdner Lyrikpreis invites Czech and German poets to take part) in 2016 for her poems from the book Tance (Dances). Her works have been translated into seven languages.

Olga Stehlíková (born in 1977 in Příbram) won Magnesia Litera in 2014 for her debut collection Týdny. She is a linguist, researcher, poet, author, editor and researcher, one of the most translated poets of her generation. Recently, she has started writing and publishing successful books for children.

Czech Poetry: what Do You Know? by Natalie Nera

  The answer for most people around the world would probably be – not much. Some intellectuals may recall the names of prose writers Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal and Karel Čapek. All were or have been great authors, yet none had the pleasure to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, although Kundera (arguably also a French scribe) and Čapek were/have been nominated many times. Yet, the only author who won this literary prize was a poet – Jaroslav Seifert.               

Czech poetry has always been heart and soul of the nation. In the nineteenth century, it tried to prove that Czech language, only just brought back from the brink of extinction, is more than an equal match for the big languages. The nationalistic undertone of much of the output of that era is hard to miss. Nonetheless, it still produced some world-class authors, notably Jan Neruda, who is one of my favourite writers of that period. If the name sounds familiar to you, you are not wrong. The legend has it that later, the “greatest poet of the 20th century in any language” and Nobel Prize Winner Pablo Neruda assumed this Czech writer’s name in his honour.                Let us travel swiftly to the age of contemporary poetry. Until 1989, there were essentially three streams of poetry: the official one; the underground one and the exile one. The communist government was in great support of official poets who became one of the powerful tools of their propaganda. That style discredited an occasional poetry – address poems, for many years to come, and thus widened the division between an ordinary person and a poet.               

The only poet, widely exported at that time, was Miroslav Holub who stood apart from these official trends and wrote intentionally in a way that made his poems easy to translate.

It is difficult to unpick what happens after 1989, perhaps with a general but not very accurate statement that there is no one stream that prevails. There are many more names that would deserve and should end up in our small taster of what contemporary Czech poetry has to offer, and perhaps – I hope -,  in the future we will be able to do it.

Like in many countries, regular readers of Czech poetry are small in numbers. Unlike in the XIX and beginning of XX century, Czech poetry does not follow any particular international trends, nor it adheres to any scheme or master plan. Writing in the style of our only Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Jaroslav Seifert is a rarity these days.

In the following months, you will get a small glimpse of the current scene of Czech poetry. Many more poets would be deserving to appear here, and I certainly hope that in time, we will be able to introduce them all. In the meantime, you may wish to read the article on the pages of the Czech Literary Centre that names many other notable authors I think are worth exploring. https://www.czechlit.cz/en/resources/czech-literature-in-a-nutshell/contemporary-czech-poetry/ Next week: Ladies first – four contemporary Czech poetesses

Poesie d´Auteur in today´s Romania Introduced by Mircea Dan Duta

Poesie d´Auteur in today´s Romania

By Dr. Mircea Dan Duta

If we are to define some common features for the four authors presented here, we will find out very soon there´s quite a difficult task. Rather than defining them by their age (all in their thirties) or gender (all young-ish men), I would like to focus on their work. They all have a very personal style, which creates more or less their unique, idiosyncratic poetics.
None of them could be suspected of standardisation, academism, commercial or conventional tendencies as specific features of their work. All four are removed from the mainstream poetry.
They have no need to cross its more or less relative boundaries because they have a lot to say within their own stylistic and thematic realms. I am not trying to criticize or downplay the contemporary Romanian mainstream as it is a strong, complex, impressive and surprisingly quite fresh movement (or rather a stream of movements), however I do not intend to explore it here. The reason why we present these four poets is because they do not follow any prescribed recipes or methods – they have their own. They are not in conflict with the mainstream, in fact on personal level, they are friends with the poetic trendsetters in Romania. They simply do not need any auspices because of their own unique way with words, they create what we call poesie d’auteur.
I believe their talents and strong poetic voices should be heard more and get more recognition outside their narrow circle and it is the main reason why I selected these four poets for the translation feature in Fragmented Voices. I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity.


Cosmin Perta, photo by Alexandra Turku

I Saw a Little Animal Crossing the Street

I saw a little animal crossing the street.
It was walking as if it had to get somewhere.
Do you still love me?
You bought me sneakers. I spent several hundred hours in those sneakers
on the street, at my desk, during classes, on benches, in parks, and in bars…
I sat as if I had nowhere to be.
I thought at some point to tell you something good,
I kept thinking of what to tell you,
and no good word from my lips.
You know, when I was six, my mom took me out to take pictures with me,
as if she knew that little boy wasn’t going to make it,
that his image needed to be kept somehow.
I followed that little animal for tens of meters,
but it seemed to know what it was doing, and I envied it.
A hedgehog on the street,
an old, tired, huge hedgehog. He was crying.
I slept with the hedgehog on my chest,
and he, scared, and I, insomniac, we somehow connected,
and fell asleep.
You told me we snored, me and the hedgehog.
The sneakers from you broke and smell horribly, although I still wear them in sun or rain.
I think that little, untamed animal is the one who has no place or no reason to go.
Do you still love me? Tomorrow I’ll throw away these sneakers,
but I’ll keep them for today, they’re so hard to peel off my feet.

Translated by MARGENTO


Andrei Zbirnea, photo Oana Nasta

nick cave)

And the bus station fills with linden scent tonight

just like the smell of all objects in the vicinity of the carol

park good morning love doves you wrote me and then I believe

it stopped raining on the constantin brâncoveanu boulevard my watch

is in good hands you can reclaim it upon your return

#legacy #poetry #expired #vodka only at a teodor dună’s reading

you can witness andrei zbîrnea drinking rosé good morning

love doves how did you sleep my bedroom door was locked I didn’t

rummage through the pantry good morning love doves the ceiling is about

to collapse. I can’t let you crash here next time you’re in town good morning

love doves the city unfolds like a handheld fan in a Turkish bazaar a Gruzin

painter locked himself in an attic caricatures don’t tell us about globalization an

Armenian movie director good morning love doves and coming to terms with sexuality

in the ‘50s good morning love doves good morning emir kusturica good morning jazz.

june 21 2018

Translation by Daniela Hendea


RAI, photo from Romeo’s personal archive


People were dying all around him and tombs were being born,
pain was building its kingdom around him,
fear was bringing forth monsters all around.

He didn’t shoot at anybody and no bullet touched him.

When the war stopped,
they found him motionless, gun fully charged, the trigger loose and cold,
his eyes void, unslept and cold,
his heart empty, beating vainly, in a death toll.

They judged him according to martial law
and named him traitor, chicken, wet-behind-the-ears, a punk,

He was forbidden passage through the arch of triumph
and was erased from all the conscript lists;
next he was convicted not to die
until he would have lived through the horrors of 41 more wars.

Not for an instant did he understand what was going on around him.
Inside himself, he had already been through a life-long
war raised to the power of 41.

The war with his deaf-and-dumb self.

(Verses from the volume I, the Deaf-and-Dumb (Tracus Arte Publishing, 2018)
Translation by Adriana Bulz


Ciprian Măceșaru, photo by Ana Toma

 every evening i eat my sardines 
 from the north atlantic i drink my bulgarian 
 wine i open my soul like 
 nuns in movies showing louis de funès
 therefore I start writing and a little drummer comes 
 out of my head hitting hitting hitting his plastic 
 drum a toy my brain manages to 
 make work only at dawn after nervously
  pedaling the whole night
 in the morning when the piranha sparrows start
 crunching out of my heart while the white belly of the day
 is slowly falling down on me I feel death 
 cheating on me I feel the rays of the sun passing 
 through my body as x-rays penetrating some animal corpse
 hanging from a nail in the slaughterhouse revealing entrails
 the most pathetic of them being the ones of a writer wallowing around in self-pity 

Translation by Mircea Dan Duta

About the Authors

Cosmin Perța was born in Viseu de Sus, Maramures, in 1982. He is a poet, prose writer, drama writer and essayist. He graduated from the Literature Faculty of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj. He went on to take an MA in Contemporary Literature at Bucharest University, followed by a PhD with a thesis on the subject of the fantastic in East-European literature. His poems have been translated into eleven languages and some of his novels are currently being translated into four languages. In the Romanian and foreign press there are more than three hundred reviews and references to his work. In the last ten years he has been awarded some of the most prestigious Romanian literary prizes.  

Andrei Zbîrnea was born in 1986. He is a journalist@realitatea.net, copywriter, and sometimes poet as well as a handy man@ Mornin’ Poets Wokshop.  Borussia Dortmund fan and also big lover of The Office (US) Tv Series, Andrei hopes to write prose someday. His published books include Rock în Praga (Herg Benet Pusblisher, 2011); #kazim (contemporani cu primăvara arabă) (Herg Benet Publishers, 2014); Turneul celor cinci națiuni (frACTalia, 2017) ; Pink Pong (with Claus Ankersen, frACTalia, 2019)

Romeo Aurelian ILIE (RAI) is a 32-year old Romanian poet. He has only one poetry book, named “41. I, the Deaf-and-Dumb”( Tracus Arte Publishing House, Bucharest, 2018), that was published after winning a debut contest. He has also published poetry, literary criticism and essay in various cultural journals in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Spain, Italy and the USA.

Ciprian Măceșaru (b. 1976, Câmpina) is a writer, musician, illustrator and cultural journalist. His works were included in numerous anthologies. Poems and / or stories of his have been translated into Italian, Czech, Hungarian, Hebrew, Yiddish, English and Bulgarian. He is the founder of the cultural magazine Accente, based in Bucharest. Ciprian is also a drummer of Hotel Fetish and Toulouse Lautrec bands. He wrote a libretto for the chamber opera In the Body, composed by Diana Rotaru. Irish composer Gráinne Mulvey wrote work Don´t Walk, based on his lyrics. He has won multiple prestigious awards, among them Diploma of Excellence for European Journalism, awarded by EUROLINK – House of Europe, 2010; The Young Writer of the Year 2013 ​​Unpublished Novel Manuscript Award, granted by the Bucharest Prose Branch of the Romanian Writers´ Union. His list of published books is extensive, just to mention a few recent ones: And It Got Dark (Next Page Publishing House, 2018); The Past is Always One Step Ahead of You (Cartea Românească Publishing House, 2016); Dark Sources (Casa de pariuri literare, 2020), The Invisible Runner (Paralela 45 Publishing House, 2019).

Translation Tuesday: Three Poetic Voices in Romanian

Today we introduce three more talented poets from Romania and Moldova, three strong poetic voices from this part of Europe.

Andreea Apostu


things that I learned to do thoroughly
to cut my hair above my shoulders
to not show my back to other people
so that I can hide my birthmark
from the sun and cancer
to wear pants so that my knees stay out of sight
my birthmark has the shape of hokkaido
a brown and extreme sun which gives you a state
of wellbeing
and surprises you even now
like that ghirlandaio painting from a church you
entered by mistake
you could see the magi and baby jesus
only if you slid a coin
through a metal slot
and a spotlight showed you mary laughing

Translation: Andreea Apostu

Antonia Mihailescu

which birds sing to you
the temperature difference
subtle.in these nights the clock sets his own alarm
just in time he likes to wake me up with a cryptic chirp
birds with metallic hands//
Born in the urban jungle and(however much they may try) they cannot separate from the windows in which they bang every morning making//pouring his coffee on the microwave and to wake up his wife with the buzzing of the blender to yell at the idiots that don’t know how to use the turn signal to lay on the couch with a kilo beer//tell me which birds sing to you

Translation: Rareș Rotariu

Victoria Tatarin

He called around lunchtime
And told her
He would be home early that day
She knew he would be tired
So in no time, she cooked a modest supper
From everything she found in the fridge.
Some old ham,
Semi-dry dark bread
And vegetable broth
She wanted him to sense her blood
Like back then, their first time
Outside, there was a factory warehouse
The workers poured melted metal
From tanks into shapes
She was so young,
She could not cook
Nor could she make love properly
She could feel he would come
That night he slipped inside
Through the gap under the door.

Translation: Natalie Nera

About the Authors:

Andreea Apostu is a research assistant at the “G. Călinescu” Institute of Literary History and Theory of the Romanian Academy and has published numerous papers on literature, postimpressionist and avant-garde art in scientific journals and collective volumes. She has also published literary reviews in Revista de Povestiri, Bookaholic, Timpul, Infinitezimal and Le Grand Continent. She read poems at the literary club Institutul Max Blecher (The Max Blecher Institute) coordinated by Claudiu Komartin and has recently published in „Zoom France Roumanie” (a poem in French) and „Adevărul” (in Romanian).

ANTONIA MIHĂILESCU is a twenty-year-old student at University of Arts ”George Enescu” – Faculty of Theatre – Theater Directing Department. She is a member of House of Poetry Light of ink and
the organizer of Online Maraton of Poetry 2020 and SAD Festival 2020.

Victoria Tatarin is a poetess from the Republic of Moldova. She was born in 16.05.2002. She finished school this year. She started writing at Creative Writing club “Vlad Ioviță” and she was a participant at Reading club “Republica”. First time when she was published it was in anthology “Unsprezece”(eleven) in 2019. She was included in very important literature anthology “Poesis international” în 2020. Over publishing was in internet magazines like “Noise Poetry”, “Poeticstand”. In January 2020 she was a participant of literature marathon in Czech and Slovakia Republics(from the initiative of Mircea Dan Duță).

Andreea Apostu
Antonia Mihailescu

Translation Tuesday: Introducing Three Young Poets from Romania and Moldova


Bridges by Stela Brix, 2018

Cristina Discusar

the wall and the window
rooms entering other rooms
and maybe only your grey face
so weak
just like in here
fights the boredom
a warm day in January
boats tied to a deck somewhere
and we look perhaps
only at the little white statue
that looks so much like
my mum

Translation: Cristina Discusar


Toni Chira

I didn’t even get to rejoice,
When everybody else was already grasping the slope of excess
I come back with consumerist poetry, with an inflatable hedgehog,
Captive between my ribs,
With a chaotic dance: hands-feet-hands,
With the typhoon controlled from caravans
And gas masks.
The image of the girl with short hair.
The pace at which we existed from morning till night
And afterwards.
The insistence that found me greedy,
Well stuck with my cheeks in a pillow.

I’m back with the end-of-year celebrations,
With the imaginary boy and the masses of people
Bursting into the banquet hall,
With Duchamp’s urinal and his passion for nonconformism,
With the perforated vest and the bullet found in his chest pocket.

Translation: Andreea Popescu


Simina Popescu

Our children will grow
From the soil on our faces.
I lock the window,
Then the head of a match
Begins to burn like holy water
What about the leaves
That fall from your body?
Shall I glue it like a spoon
On my forehead
And walk on my hands
Only to wipe juices from the pavements?

Sometimes when I look at myself

I can see a dog begging
For a piece of bread.

Translation: Natalie Nera


About the Authors:

Cristina Dicusar (1993) is a young poet from Chisinau, The Republic of Moldova. She published her first poems in the „Clipa” magazine and in a poetry collection: „Casa Verde”/„The Green House”. Now she is writing her PhD with a thesis on contemporary Romanian poetry. She read at various literary clubs: The “Vlad Ioviță” Workshop (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova), “Tram 26” (Romania), “Mihail Ursachi” House of Culture (Romania), Bar Behind the Curtains (Czech Republic), Prague Writers’ Club (Czech Republic), Beseda Castle, Švrček Theater, (Slovakia) etc.  She is member of the “Vlad Ioviță” Creative Writing Workshop and of the “Republica” Cenacle.

Toni Chira (2003) is a teenage talent from Bucharest, Romania. He has co-organised the TRILL Cenacle, the Online Poetry Marathon 2020 and SAD Festival. His poems have been published in the magazines Poesis International and Vatra. He is the winner of the Poetry Prize at the 2019 edition of the Young Writers’ Colloquia.

Simina Popescu is a 19- year old poet and translator from Bucharest, Romania. She is a 12th-grade student at the National Bilingual College “George Coșbuc”. Currently, she is preparing for the University of Fine Arts. She took part in various literary activities such as a creative writing workshop lead by Ciprian Chirvasiu, which resulted in the publication of collective anthology (Grădina din mansardă/ “The Garden in the Attic”), that included some of her poems. Her poems have also appeared in “Actualitatea Literară”, e Czech literary periodical  „Husitské Světlo”, the Slovak periodical „Holičské Noviny”. Also, she is also part of the international poetic project “Cadena Magica” coordinated by Olga Walló.


Cristina Discusar reading in Prague, at the Prague Writers Club, January 2020
Simina Popescu reading at the Prague Writers Club, January 2020