Friday, April 18, 2014

Poetry of Romania - Nora School, Apr 24

     During several summers teaching conversational English to middle-school students in Deva, Romania, I became acquainted with the work of Romanian poets.  These included:  Mikhail Eminescu (1850-1889, a Romantic poet, much loved and esteemed, honored with a portrait on Romanian currency), George Bakovia (1881-1957, a Symbolist poet, and a favorite poet of Doru Radu, an English teacher in Deva with whom I worked on some translations of Bacovia into English), Nichita Stanescu  (1933-1983, an important post-war poet, a Nobel Prize nominee -- and a poet who often used mathematical concepts and images in his verse).
     On April 24, 2014 at the Nora School here in Silver Spring I will be reading (sharing the stage with Martin Dickinson and Michele Wolf) some poems of Romania -- reading both my own writing of my Romania experiences and some translations of work by Romanian poets.     Here is a sample (translated by Gabriel Praitura and me) of  a poem by Nichita Stanescu:

     A Lesson on the Circle     by Nichita Stanescu

     You draw a circle in the sand                           
     and then halve the circle                        
     with the same hazelnut stick.                

     Next you fall to your knees,         
     then to all fours.                            
     Then you hit the sand with your forehead 
     and apologize to the circle.                          
     That’s all.  

This Stanescu translation first appeared in CIRCUMFERENCE (Summer/Autumn,2004).

Previous postings in this blog of poetry from Romania include: 
      On July 22, 2010  "Another Mathematics" by Nichita Stanescu; on October 4, 2010 "The Reckoning" by Marin Sorescu;  on January 31, 2011 "The Inclined Plane by Nina Cassian and "Ut Algebra Poesis" by Dan Barbilian / Ion Barbu; on June 13, 2011  "Poetic Mathematics" by Nichita Stanescu;  on September 26, 2011 "Learning to Count"  by Nichita Stanescu.   I have posted one of my own poems of Romania, "The Bear Cave" on June 2, 2011.
Anthology available for download:
     Two of my poems of Romania ("The Bear Cave" and "Looking for Words") appear in a 2011 anthology, Bucharest Tales; an illustrated version of Bucharest Tales (edited by Lidia Vianu, Contemporary Literature Press, New Europe Writers Series) has recently become available online (free download) here.

No comments:

Post a Comment