Jun 6, 2017

POETRYARTEXCHANGE Live in London--Podcast, Video, and Photos

Steve Rushton & MARGENTO (Chris Tanasescu) performing on the Hello Goodbye Show on Radio Resonance, London, UK

Listen to the podcast HERE!!!

POETRYARTEXCHANGE Live at Hundred Years Gallery, London, UK

Watch a snippet on youtube HERE!!!

Pics from the same gig:

May 22, 2017

poetryartexchange book release, radio sessions, performances, and exhibitions in London & Birmingham

"What a show!  Nine writers from two cultures, Romania and the UK, working their brand-new, poly-vocal invention.  As one of the poets says, 'It’s an attempt at establishing.'  It establishes, and powerfully invigorates, so many aesthetics and colours, so many flavors and voices—cases, fonts, songs, diatribes, tracts, interiors and pluralities.  This book is dynamic—as in drop-the-mike—as in dynamite... "
– David Baker (Poetry Foundation)

1. On Resonance FM (London)

Hello GoodBye Show – 27.05.17 – ft. Sebastian Melmoth, Simon Waldram, Steve Rushton + Margento 


Saturday 27th May 2017 between midday and 1.30pm on Resonance 104.4 FM
Please tune-in on 104.4 FM and DAB in Central London and worldwide on-line via: RadioPlayer 
[Repeated Monday 3.00am]

2. Hundred Years Gallery, London

poetryartexchange (Romania/UK). Sunday 28th May 3:30pm @ Hundred Years Gallery


Participants: Claire BookerMargentoAnna Maria MickiewiczIulia MilitaruJohn RileyAndra RotaruSteve RushtonAleksandar StoicoviciStephen Watts
Performance at Hundred Years Gallery, where Margento, hot foot from Canada, will perform with London based poets Claire BookerJohn Riley and Stephen Watts and a small backing band including Steve Rushton on percussion and Sebastian Sterkowicz on bass clarinet.
Doors 3:30 | performance 4pm | Free entry

3. Centrala Gallery, Birmingham

http://centrala-space.org.uk (where the poetryartexchange exhibition opened April 3rd is on till June 3rd)

June 2nd--
Performance 6pm | Free entry
Steve Rushton--percussion, MARGENTO (Chris Tanasescu--[un]spoken word--& Costin Dumitrache--guitar), Sebastian Sterkowicz--bass clarinet

June 3rd--free entry

1-2pm: Steve Rushton, Claire Booker and John Riley 
will read their poetry, talk about relationships between their poetry and other art forms, and invite questions.

2-2.30pm: break

2.30-3.10pm: Margento and Stephen Watts 
perform their poetry, talk about relationships between their poetry and other art forms, and invite questions.

3.10pm to close: open discussion and readings.

"The wild energy of this book, its ecstatic abandon of lyrical conversation, the silences in the midsts of poet’s dialogues, the intensity that arises from those silences…nine poets from two countries coming together to smash the barriers and reach out to each other. In our world so torn by various nationalisms, refugee crises, political darknesses, what respite—what a gift, really—to find humans who create a country all their own (all our own, now) out of words. If I had to pledge allegiance to any nation, it would be this one."
– Ilya Kaminsky  (www.poets.org)

To download your free copy of poetryartexchange (Romania/UK), published by Contemporary Literature Pressgo to http://editura.mttlc.ro/rushton-poetryartexchange-romania-uk.html .

Dec 15, 2016

Launch of Moods with Margento and Martin Woodside in New York City

Join us for our launch of Moods & Women & Men & Once Again Moods: An Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Erotic Poetry with MARGENTO and Martin Woodside this Friday at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn and other locations in Manhattan this week!

More information about the book: http://calypsoeditions.org/title/moods-women-men-once-again-moods-an-anthology-of-contemporary-romanian-erotic-poetry/


Erotic, erratic, heretic, that is what Romanian poetry is like, writes MARGENTO (Chris Tanasescu), himself a major voice who has labored tirelessly in promoting poetry in translation both from and into Romanian. Make no doubt about it: the work by new Romanian poets writing today is among the strongest, perhaps the strongest poetic tradition in Eastern Europe. And, here is our chance to see these wild and brilliant Romanians at play: there are songs of praise, of lament, chants, invocations, surreal moments, realist sketches, lyrical asides, hymns, and many other forms of poetic utterance brought together by their erotic impulse. There are great voices here, totally unpredictable, totally unafraid. Special gratitude goes to the editors and translators of this work for making it available in English in versions so mesmerizing as these.
                                                                                                                        Ilya Kaminsky

“What emerges here is a phantasmagoric, often magical erotica, a surrealism of the body & the mind that directs it, as conveyed by a generation of poets experiencing the possibility of a newly opened poetics of liberation.  The resultant work is a revelation of what poetry can do when unleashed, in its most radical forms, to imagine & to reflect the fullest panoply of human needs & desires.  As it comes to us here in America, it is also a great pleasure to read & to absorb, from cover to cover.”
                                                                                                                       JEROME ROTHENBERG

http://revista22.ro/70252986/antologie-de-poeme-erotice-romnesti-contemporane.html--Magda Carneci
http://www.revista-apostrof.ro/articole.php?id=2961--Irina Petras
https://antoneseiliviu.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/o-antologie-de-poezie-erotica-romaneasca-contemporana/--Liviu Antonesei
http://unanotimpinberceni.blogspot.com/2015/12/moods-women-moods-once-again-moods.html--Claudiu Komartin

This month Calypso is having a buy 2 get 3 holiday sale! http://calypsoeditions.org/bookstore/buy-2-get-3-holiday-special/

Pete's Candy Store calendar

Aug 3, 2016


      Editor's Note  
Ready to dive into our Summer 2016 edition? We have many rich pickings from the underwater world of translation (video trailer here), including: memoirs of childhood submerged in ghosts and television; in-depth interviews with Paul Celan translator Pierre Joris and Sawako Nakayasu, winner of the 2016 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; our colorful coral-reef Multilingual Writing Feature, this time incorporating ten different languages from as far afield as Puerto Rico, South Africa, and India; as well as fifteen fresh-from-the-sea translations of Pedro Novoa's devastating cuento breve, which, at 997 words, took first place in Peru's "Story of 1,000 Words" contest.

It's not hard to see why. At once a nautical thriller and drama-filled family saga, Pedro Novoa's masterful story delivers a powerful allegory about the blood ties that bind even when they're broken—the concatenation of islands we will nevertheless always be. The subsequent intergenerational stories by Philippe Sollers, Alessandro Cinquegrani, and Edi Matić also feature the same beating (if shrieking, squalling) heart; and we round off the Fiction section with Mahsa Mohebali's delightful take on interconnectedness via a love-story-in-footnotes.

Elsewhere, we are thrilled to give you Patrick Chamoiseau's also-very-hyphenated introduction to Martiniquais writers, both an important theoretical work and a masterpiece of creative writing. Along with David Shook's essay on translating multilingual writer Jorge Canese, it provides the perfect bungee-jumping off point to the adventurous experimentations in our Multilingual Writing Feature. Borne from a certain "multiplicity of being," these projects blur the lines between translation and original; monolingual and multilingual. Audio recordings in this section, editor Ellen Jones notes, uniquely reveal actual sounds of different languages riffing off one another.

A new sound (Xitsonga, a South African language) and some very existential investigations can be found in the Poetry section: Czech Surrealist Vítězslav Nezval, for example, presents a man composing a self-portrait out of objects, while Mikhail Eremin, of the Russian "philological school," interrogates nature, time, and myth in dense free verse octaves; and Nurduran Duman responds to Rumi's "Song of the Reed" in her urgent, questioning poems about the self's place in the world. In the aftermath of May 1968, Italian poet Elsa Morante asserts, "Fare ye well measures, directions, five senses. Fare ye well slavish duties & slavish rights & slavish judgments."

As you plumb the rest of the issue, illustrated gloriously by Andrea Popyordanova, don't miss Brian Vinero's new drama translation of Euripides (in rhymed-verse!); Trisha Gupta's review of Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay's delightfully counter-current novel, Panty; as well as a spotlight on artist Jakub Woynarowski, who repurposes images from Polish history to create spatial experiences ranging from the subtle to the sublime.

In other magazine-related news, we are adapting Daniel Hahn's popular 'Ask a Translator' column to a live event on July 20 at Waterstones Piccadilly (RSVP to the event here), and also live-streaming it on Facebook (in a first for Asymptote!) so catch us there at 1930hrs (GMT) and ask your questions from all over the world. For our Special Feature in January 2017, our sixth anniversary issue, we are looking for contemporary work from Indian languages. Find the details here, along with our call for Canadian Poetry (deadline: 1 Aug 2016).

As Asymptote prepares to turn six (without financial support from any government body or educational institution all these years), we are now urgently looking to secure our future so that we can continue operating beyond January 2017.

That's why we are rolling out a new sustaining membership program. Subscription takes just a few moments (and $10 a month), but allows us to continue bringing the freshest world literature to an audience that grows exponentially with each passing year. In return for pledging a year’s support, you will receive an Asymptote Moleskine notebook, perfect for you and your loved ones. If you value our work and our mission, become a sustaining member today. Thank you so much for your support!
—Lee Yew Leong, Editor-in-Chief


by Șerban Foarță

and so forth,
all three enclosed
in a bottle,
in a bottle without a horse.

Bottle capped by Don Ruys, señor
de Medina y de Posa,
qui the birdsong doeth adore
et admires the mariposa.

all four trapped,
trapped in a bottle
capped by Mr. Maeterlinck

(in the French langue, Materlenk),
Grand cordon of the Order de
Léopold—whom Timur Leng
did not provoque: “To us, à nous deux!”

In Orlamonde,—
in his bottle
with no throttle,
alle die men are jerks and suckers,
gaga gems, that’s all le monde.

translated from the Romanian by MARGENTO


de Șerban Foarță

and so forth,
all three closed,
closed in a bottle,
in a bottle without horse.

Closed by Don Ruys, señor
de Medina y de Posa,
qui écoute el ruiseñor
et admire la mariposa.

all four closed,
closed in a bottle
closed by Mr. Maeterlinck

(in Französisch : materlenk),
Grand cordon de l’Ordre de
Léopold,—que Timour Lenk
ne provoque pas: „A nous deux!”

In Orlamonde, —
in his bottle
without throttle,
alle Menschen sind so trottel,
gagâteux [sic!] est tout le monde.

Șerban Foarță (b. 1942) is a poet, translator, essayist, playwright, and author/editor of over eighty titles. His work ranges from formal experimentalism to multilingual and conceptual writing to translational poetics to innovative transcriptions of classic literature to parodies and “jokes” to palindromes and “holo-rhymes.” The recipient of many awards and distinctions, he has been a freelancer for over sixty years, dedicating his life entirely to literature. He lives in Timișoara, Romania.

Translator's Note
I was 16 when I was first mesmerized by Serban Foarță’s poetry—while listening to the greatest Romanian rock band of all times, Phoenix, whose lyrics he had written. The band was, at that time, banned by the communist regime for ‘defecting’ to the ‘imperialist enemy’ (illegally escaping to western Germany), but some connoisseurs still had the vinyl records. Foarță’s lyrics—mellifluous and sophisticated, mixing Romanian folklore and Western medieval folk books with alchemical references and modern poetic experimentalism—are still known by heart by millions of fans across Romania and beyond.

Later, as a younger poet, I got to dive into the incredible richness and complexity of Foarță’s oeuvre. He is arguably Romania’s most spectacular and diverse formal experimentalist since WWII. He also is formidably erudite; in the blink of an eye, his references can span the most distant and apparently incompatible areas and ages, but his ludic restlessness is always backed up by focused profundity and intellectual lucidity. One of his most recent feats is an impeccable Romanian version of Raymond Queneau’s Cent mille milliards de poèmes (Hundred Thousand Billion Poems).

The challenges of translating ‘Papillonage’ (‘Buttérflyçion’) have been considerable, especially since the author takes advantage here of the special relationship between Romanian and French languages and cultures. I had to invent ‘English’ words to echo that relationship, while maintaining the poetic form and finding equivalents to the infectious puns and cross-cultural references. It is interesting to note that, paradoxically, when translating a multilingual poem and trying to render the various special (inter)lingual connections and interactions, it is the ‘main’ language (in this particular case Romanian) that disappears, since that is the most ‘translatable’ one, the one most exposed to rendition and foreignization.

More HERE.

Jun 28, 2016

MARGENTO @ CROWD Omnibus Reading Tour

The CROWD OMNIBUS is a literary tour from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean Sea  
·     over 100 writers from 37 countries
·     12 weeks on a bus (May to August)
·     through 14 European countries with over 50 stops
·     over 30 local partners
·     dozens of readings, performances, discussions, meetings, workshops
·     intermingling, interacting, sharing
CROWD is about meeting each other in literature!

 THE MAP app 

Follow with: #crowdlitbus

Photos from the

'Text-World-World-Text' - Symposium

organized in Graz by Forum Stadtpark (FB page) as part of the CROWD Omnibus Reading Tour



LEG 1, week 1-3, 02.-21.05.2016: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark
Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Hailuoto, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Tromsö, Trondheim, Lillehammer, Oslo, Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Aarhus, Odense, Kobenhavn
LEG 2,  week 4-6, 22.05.-12.06.2016: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic
Hamburg, Kiel, Greifswald, Berlin, Wiesenburg (Mark), Frankfurt Oder, Slubice, Krakow, Prague, Usti nad Labem, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, München
LEG 3, week 7-9, 13.06.-04.07.2016: Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria
Altaussee, Mürzzuschlag, Graz, Laafeld (Bad Radkersburg), Jurovski Dol, Belgrade, Niš, Sofia, Burgas
LEG 4,  week 10-12, 05.-24.07.2016: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus
Istanbul, Tekirdag, Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos, Lechonia, Delphi, Athens,  Larnaca, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Bellapais, Nicosia, Lemithou, Platres, Kourion, Limassol

LEG 1, 02.-21.05.2016: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark
Satu Taskinen (FI), Marko Tomaš (BA), Peter Højrup (DK), Ricardo Domeneck (DE), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (AT), Andrea Inglese (IT), Alev Adil (CY), Katarzyna Fetlińska (PL), Eino Santanen (FI), Aase Berg (SE), Ondrej Budeus (CZ), Odile Kennel (DE), Barbi Marković (RS), Markus Köhle (AT), Maxime Coton (BE), Teemu Manninen (FI), Ervina Halili (KO), Martin Jankowski (DE), Lilly Jäckl (AT), Kinga Toth (HU), John Holten (IE), Eftychia Panayiotou (CY), Jan Kaus (EE), Vakis Loizides (CY)

LEG 2,  22.05.-12.06.2016: Germany, Poland, Czech Republic
JK Ihalainen (FI), Harri Hertell (FI), Katariina Vuorinen (FI), Olga Pek (CZ), Pambos Kouzalis (CY), Maria Siakalli (CY), Gür Genc (CY), Ilse Kilic (AT), Thomas Antonic (AT), Maria Cecilia Barbetta (DE), Artur Becker (DE), Elias Knörr (IS), Judith Keller (CH), Anja Golob (SI), Ian de Toffoli (LU), Alen Meskovic (DK), Rufus Mufasa (UK), Tsvetanka Elenkova (BG), Kätlin Kaldmaa (EE), Vladimir Durisic (ME), Birger Emanuelsen (NO), Roland Reichen (CH), Nadia Mifsud (MT), Johannes Schrettle (AT)

LEG 3, 13.06.-04.07.2016: Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria
Stefanie Sargnagel (AT), Alexander Micheuz (AT), Daniela Seel (DE), Clemens Schittko (DE), Ulrich Schlotmann (DE), Jenan Selcuk (CY), Constantinos Papageorgiou (CY), Andreas Timotheu (CY), Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo (FI), Henriikka Tavi (FI), Suvi Valli (FI), Ruzanna Voskanyan (AM), Kristina Posilovic (HR), Erinie Margariti (GR), Benediktas Janusvidius (LT), MARGENTO (RO), Mathias Traxler (CH), Steven J. Fowler (UK), Álvaro Seiça (PT), Jaap Blonk (NL), Ingamara Balode (LV), The Geminiis (FR)

LEG 4,  05.-24.07.2016: Turkey, Greece, Cyprus
Avgi Lilli (CY), Nora Nadjarian (CY), Yiorgos Christodoulides (CY), Crauss (DE), Alexander Filyuta (DE), Jörg Piringer (AT), Christoph Szalay (AT), Florian Neuner (AT), Alexandra Salmela (FI), Paulina Haasjoki (FI), Marjo Niemi (FI), Martin Glaz Serup (DK), Alexis Stamatis (GR), Erikur Örn Norddahl (IS), Ailbhe Darcy (IE), Tone Hodnebo (NO), Josep Pedrals (ES), Mira Tuci (AL), Mikael Vogel (DE), Zeynep Köylü (TR)

Associated Partners on the road
Randnummer Magazin, Literaturhaus Hamburg, Hansa48, Literaturhaus Schleswig-Holstein, Koeppenhaus, Nachbarschaftsheim Schöneberg, Casa e.V., ufaFabrik, Berliner Literarische Aktion, Hochroth Publisher, Mal’s Multimedia Scheune, Kleist-Museum, Ha!Art, Psi Vino Journal for contemporary poetry, h_aluze Magazine, Literaturarchiv Sulzbach-RosenbergMeine drei lyrischen ichs (reading series)Lyrikkabinett, Kunsthaus Mürz, Pavelhaus, Zelena Centrala, Krokodil, Bulgarian Book Association, Mesut Senol, Beyoglu Municipality, Lions Club Tekirdag, Entefktirio Literary Magazine, Giorgos Kordomenides, Thessaloniki Municipality, Dimitris Papastergiou, Thomas Korovinis, Society of Dekata, Dinos Siotis, Andreas Timotheou, Parakentro Cultural Centre, Pambos Kouzalis, Local Authority of Platres, Anber Onar, Limassol Municipality, Cyprus Union of Writers, Cyprus PEN Centre.

Thank you so much! The Sponsors:


May 3, 2016

GELLU NAUM Poem in PLUME's Newsletter Introduced by MARGENTO; translated by MARGENTO and Martin WOODSIDE

"Silo" by Randi Ward

from the newsletter signed by Plume EiC Daniel Lawless:

May, 2016


Readers:  Welcome to Plume, Issue 58
May– and the cruelty this time not of the month even metaphorically but lying instead in the fact of what I must lay at your feet: actual news – in a Newsletter. A relief to most of you, surely: my own ramblings put aside so that we might speak of…business. Yes, let’s call it that. Much of what will follow – though not all, by any means – will reappear in this month’s Editor’s Note, I should warn you.
But first, something that will not appear in that Editor’s Note: our “secret poem from Gellu Naum” – “Notes on the Translation of a Poem Based on a Mistranslation” marvelously translated and introduced by Plume contributor Chris Tanasescu (Margento):
Notes on the Translation of a Poem Based on a Mistranslation
 In “Natura umană”/“Human Nature,” Romanian surrealist Gellu Naum (1915 – 2001) takes his favorite jazz musician, Miles Davis, on a tram trip around downtown Bucharest, while the latter plays his famous trumpet.  Playing the trumpet on a tramcar is not the only unusual thing here, and as we’ll see, issues of media(tion) and non-representational spatiality can be traced as playing a fundamental role in the poem.
Modern and contemporary poetry can be and has been revisited from a new media and digital space perspective—and I am not speaking of digital poetry (only) but of traditional/“page” poetry as well.  Marit Grøtta for instance wrote a book on Baudelaire, circumscribing the early modernist’s poetics as deeply informed by the new media of his age—particularly pre-cinematic devices—the kaleidoscope, the thaumatrope, the zoetrope, etc.  As this brief enumeration already shows, there is a strong (if not prevailing) emphasis on the visual in these early fusions.  Still, in Baudelaire (as argued in the same book) the flaneur’s experience of the crowd is a profoundly sensual one. 
This latter modernist motif is revisited by Naum in his poem and actually twisted almost beyond recognition, since he includes two major additions extracted from the cultural heritage of the 20th century—psychoanalysis (the girl who performs the part of her brother’s “dear mama”) and popular music (jazz). 
These two additions are further distorted by placing the “concert” on a tramcar and subverting the given topographies (the Neajlov flows in reality somewhere beyond the outskirts of Bucharest and nowhere near the downtown Piazza May the 1st).  “Miles Davis” thus becomes, in Ian Davidson’s terms, a “circulating entity” within another “circulating entity,” a restless, walking, performing passenger in a tramcar which is in its turn in motion. 
His whereabouts is therefore always variable and uncertain, and therefore Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in quantum physics—that has been identified as perfectly applicable to digital space (cf. Stephen Kennedy 33)—is illustrated here in a most palpable way.
Moreover, multi-temporality and the multiple motions involved in the poem circumscribe an economy of place and space of particular relevance in the context of our discussion.  Miles Davis’s character gradually acquires a special kind of place and space related features.  His mobility as well as the connectivity and relative re-positionings and (re)arrangements he stirs in the surrounding contexts evoke both the ever-shifting, expanding, and protean networks of hyperlinks in digital space as well as the way in which within (and then as based off of) the virtual, the digital creates a space with a reality principle of itself.
The dislocated places, displaced and floating locations typical of digital space are accompanied here by another salient feature of the latter.  A sky with its own stars is made visible through and within the musician’s presence and performance, both of which generate a space of their own, where the eagles on a necklace soar among the stars beyond/above the ceiling.  This confusion between the two levels of reality and their fusion into a new self-sufficient kind of reality cohere with the descriptions of digital space in recent criticism as going beyond the real-virtual binary opposition and, as already stated here, acquiring a reality principle in and of itself (see for instance Kroker and Kroker, 11).
Now we can return to the new media mentioned in the opening remarks.  Unlike in modernist poetries, the economy of such space and of the poem is not mainly visual anymore, but sonic.  The refrain of the poem is a mistranslation (Naum literally renders the song title as “time after time”, “timp după timp”).  It sounds like an echo, and the economy of the poem gravitates around it in ways that could be probably best described by the “echostate” (“an echo of a statement”) concept (cf. Kennedy 74-5).  The re-mixed and remediated performance develops the echostate of “time after time” in ways that restore the sonic and multi-temporal dimensions to a conventional and representational space related experience.  The figure of the musician himself and his wandering among passengers and from one coach to another is also a form of echostate, a metaphor for the propagation of statements and the way they connect or disconnect in various spaces and on various levels, within and across media.  His presence triggers a continuous reconfiguration of relationships and causes identities, statuses, and connections to become fluent, fluctuating, and interchangeable.
Come and be transported, be utterly dislocated and transformed by this poem!
Human Nature
by Gellu Naum
When Davis entered my sleep he played crooked
and that bewilderment had emerged which finally encloses
                  you in autumn when you’re alone and ordained for states of
                  mind you can’t resist
I started out then        Davis plays on his green trumpet   
                  Plays crooked
the mouth of the trumpet scraping the ground
and suddenly we find ourselves in Piazza May the First
there was a girl on the #3 Tram with a sanitary handbag
made from tarpaulin it had a red cross painted on the top she wears
a beret made of sky colors bound with a strap which slides
down the neck
she was about 14 years old all terribly made up
playing a game she made up pretending to take the wrong
                  coach accompanied by a much younger brother
she corrected him constantly performing the part of dear
in the crowded coach Davis plays crooked passing among
                  the others  his trumpet touching the floorboards
time after time and I felt like crying he was just an old
man the others couldn’t hear him the girl with the son-brother passed on to the other coach she returned then
Davis plays crooked he passes among the others I made
                  out above through the ceiling yellow stars on blue
                  sky I admired the necklace at his throat a great
                  jewel with eagles
the others smoked as Davis wiped the sweat from his brow
his trumpet seemed a golden amphora sweat poured down those eagles
Davis plays crooked his heart ever deeper dragging with his
fingers making unintelligible signs then there was one with long flowing hair and a small black guitar
the hair ran down over his guitar or it rose up in any case
                  he couldn’t hear Davis either
Davis played crooked this girl was made-up violently
                  passing into the other coach the other watched
                  snapdragon flowers through the windows and the
                  reddish-black hollyhocks would stir time after time
for two days we’d traveled as Davis played crooked
                  down close to the floor
on the third day I got off at Piazza May the First while
                  Davis stayed among the passengers I remained alone
                  despondent on the banks of the Neajlov that girl
                  (brother’s mother) I believe was in the same coach
                  with Davis I hadn’t noticed
in any case I was certain and she clamped the back of her
hand over her son-brother’s face and pulled from the
sanitary handbag a black bandage for his eyes
smeared with my shadow I wiped the sweat from my
(translated from the Romanian by MARGENTO and Martin Woodside from Athanor and Other Pohems, Calypso Editions, 2013, reprinted here with permission from the publisher.)
Natura umană
de Gellu Naum
Când Davis a intrat în somnul meu cânta încovoiat
ieșise la iveală în sfârșit acea nedumerire care te cuprinde
         toamna când ești singur și rânduit la stări
         pe care nu le poți respinge
pe urmă am pornit la drum             Davis cânta la o trompetă verde    
         Cânta încovoiat
gura trompetei atingea pământul
și pe neașteptate ne-am pomenit în Piața 1 Mai        
era o fată în tramvaiul 3 cu geantă sanitară
         din prelată avea o cruce roșie pictată pe capacul genții purta
         o bască de culoarea cerului legată cu o curelușă
         care îi cădea pe ceafă
avea vreo paisprezece ani era teribil de fardată
juca un joc se prefăcea că a greșit
         vagonul o însoțea un frate mult mai mic
de fiecare dată îl certa vroia să pară
era înghesuială în vagon Davis cânta încovoiat trecea
         printre ceilalți trompeta atingea podeaua
timp după timp și îmi venea să plâng era bătrân
         ceilalți nu-l auzeau fata cu fiul-frate a trecut în celălalt vagon apoi s-a reîntors
Davis cânta încovoiat trecea printre ceilalți zăream
         deasupra prin tavan stele gălbui pe cerul albăstriu
         îi admiram colanul de la gât un mare
         giuvaier cu vulturi
ceilalți fumau și Davis își ștergea sudoarea de pe față
         trompeta lui părea o amforă de aur sudoarea îi cădea pe vulturi
Davis cânta încovoiat cu inima mult mai adâncă făcea cu degetele semne
         de neînțeles era acolo unul cu părul foarte lung cu o chitară mică neagră
părul i se scurgea înspre chitară sau îi creștea din ea în sus în orice caz
         nici el nu-l auzea pe Davis
Davis cânta încovoiat fata aceea violent fardată
         trecuse în vagonul celălalt vedea
         prin geamuri flori de gura-leului
         și nalbe înroșite-negru care se mișcau timp după timp
de două zile tot călătoream așa Davis cânta încovoiat
         aproape de podea
a treia zi m-am coborât în Piața 1 Mai el a rămas
         acolo printre pasageri eu am rămas tot singur
         ca un amărât pe malul Neajlovului fata aceea
         (mama fratelui) cred că era cu Davis în vagon
         n-am observat
în orice caz sunt sigur că și-a pleznit cu dosul palmei
         peste mutră fiul-frate și că a scos
         din geanta sanitară fașă neagră ca să-i bandajeze ochii
mânjit de umbra mea eu îmi ștergeam sudoarea de pe frunte
Gellu Naum (1915-2001) started as an orthodox Surrealist, together with André Breton and Victor Brauner in the Paris of the 1930s, where he pursued a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne. After returning to Romania in the early 1940s, he embarked on a solitary and prolific career, riskily immune to the political agenda of the Communist regime. He reshaped surrealism by means of a mode-of-existence poetics that absorbed (often jocosely) erudite eastern and western references along with popular culture and the quotidian, thus managing to fuse a wide range of styles and dictions into a unique discourse, shamanistic and deadly humorous at the same time. A major voice of the 20th century, his verse contains varied infinities while staying mysteriously homogenous and enlightened by the pursuit of the same unmistaken path.
MARGENTO (Chris Tănăsescu) is a Romanian poet, performer, academic, and translator who has lectured, launched books, and performed in the US, SE Asia, Australia, and Europe. His pen-name is also the name of his multimedia cross-artform band that won a number of major international awards. His book of translations—together with Martin Woodside—from Gellu Naum’s poetry (Athanor and Other Pohems) was nominated by World Literature Today as Most Notable Translation in 2013, and his more recent work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Belas Infieis, Experiment-O, and Tristan Tzara Notebooks, among other places, and he has recently completed the libretto for a rock opera composed by Bogdan Bradu. He continues his work on the graph poem project together with Diana Inkpen and the latter’s students at University of Ottawa. MARGENTO is Romania & Moldova Editor-at-Large for Asymptote.
Wonderful, yes? Thank you, Margento – Chris, and Martin.

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