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
Saturday
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

 

A Window into the Newest Poetry in Romanian by Mircea Dan Duta

Mircea Dan Duta in Prague, January 2020

When are we mature enough to possess our own mobile phone? Before or after writing our first really good poem? (Or – should it really be so good? Isn’t enough to just write it, just to have it, to aim for something like artistic quality and/or beauty of literature; the way one is used to defining it or to approach it from any possible angle, and to make one’s best for getting as close as possible to it?

I am not sure if I am able to answer those questions in their entirety. One of the reasons is connected to the simple fact that I have no idea how old Cristina Dicusar, Toni Chira, Teona Farmatu, Artur Cojocaru, Julie Iaroslavschi or Antonia Mihăilescu were when they got their first mobile phones, tablets or laptops. However, I know how charming and surprisingly convincing their poems were when they were only 15 to 17 years old.

I may only observe that some of them became international authors quite soon after gaining literary fame at home. For instance, I recommended myself Arthur Cojocaru for an anthology of South-Eastern European Poetry compiled by British poet and translator Tom Edward Phillips in 2018. I am happy to say it again and again: it was a very good choice.

Another success story is that of the 27-year-old PhD student Cristina Dicusar, whose strong, concentrated and deeply philosophical poems impressed and astonished the Czech and Slovak audience in Prague and in Holič during the literary tour I organized in January this year and that was meant to focus on the youngest poetic generations, writing in Romanian. The excellent poetic school in the West Bank of the Prut river embodies the artificial boundary between the Romanians in Romania and the ones in the Republic of Moldova, the ones Stalin, the Red Army insisted on calling the “Moldovans”, and the entire Soviet and Post-Soviet generations have continued to do so? Prepared, stimulated, coordinated and educated in the spirit of the Romanian literature by great poets, pedagogues and patriots like Dumitru Crudu, Monica Stănilă or Sandu Vakulovski, the youngest generation of poets in today’s Moldova have had great environment and conditions to grow into the best writers in Romanian.

Paradoxically, the right bank of the Prut hasn’t always been a Real match for Bessarabia, and if ever, rather on a regional basis. In other words, there were very strong years of the Transylvanian, Banat, Constanța, Brașov, Galați or even Bucharest poetry, but also years when the “Romanians from Romania” had to admit they were no match for their “Moldavan” colleagues.

Fortunately, it is not the case today: a very strong generation of outstanding poets begins to emerge in the Romanian Bukovina, the main and the most powerful sources being the cities of Suceava, Dej, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Piatra-Neamț and Gura Humorului. And quite surprisingly again, there is a regional distribution of talents, concentrated in the “Petru Rareș” high-school în Suceava and in the Paper Wall Literary Club led by older, more experienced authors and literary critics Vlad Sibechi, Florin Dan Prodan, Radu Andriescu, Matei Hutopilă and Paul Mihalache.

 Besides the above-mentioned names, we should not forget about the other equally talented poets. They forged and consolidated the strength and the style of youngest Romanian poetry after the centennial year of 2018: the very sensitive and (given her very young age) incredibly erudite Teona Farmatu from the city of Piatra Neamț (close to Bukowina), the courageously:”citadine” voice of Sorina Rindas, that embodies the spirit of the contemporary and historical stronghold of Suceava; the civic spirit within the very personal poetry of the only 17-year old Toni Chira, (not only) in my opinion, the unrivalled leader of “his” generation and beyond -, the apparently delicate, but not at all weak, yet strongly convincing voice of Antonia Mihăilescu; the formally self-confident poems of the apparently self-confident and well-balanced student of the “Grigore Moisil” Computers High School in the City of Jassy Luca Stefan Ouatu, the excellent organisational spirit and the very deep and formally provocative texts sometimes connected to Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” of Andreea Apostu.  She is also one of the instigators, together with Toni Chira, of one of the few and excellent platforms dedicated to the contemporary and youngest Romanian poetry. Last but not least, the delicate, sensitive and painfully mature texts by Malina Lipara, a (very) young Lady-Poet who understands perhaps the best of all (“I am of the age of all that is separating us” – possibly the most convincing female cry of despair I have ever heard.

The female perspective, the drama of 3000-year of womanhood, is something I observe with awe, admiration but am unable to capture it with only a few phrases. No more than I am able to capture the complex and exciting phenomenon of contemporary Romanian poetry in a mere short “wannabe” essay. I would rather stop here.

About the Author:

Dr. Mircea Dan Duta is a poet, academic, film scientist and a member of the Czech and Romanian PEN Clubs. Moreover, he is a university lecturer and a producer and presenter of cultural events. He writes in his second language – Czech. His two poetry collections (in Czech) – Krajiny, Lety a Diktáty (2014)  and  Plechové citáty, mindráky a lidská práva (2015) were published by the Petr Štengl publishers. His texts have been translated into many languages in more than 15 countries in Europe, America and Asia. He also translates from Polish, Slovak, and (to) Czech.