Mar 31, 2014


Many thanks to MARGENTO for inviting me to this amazing tour blog, and you can see his response here!

1) What am I working on?  
I'm currently working on a series of poems about masculinity, tentatively entitled "Institute of Masculine Studies."  The series includes poems about fictional characters such as Dirty Harry, Magnum P.I. and historical figures, like the iconic thinkers described in Laertius's "Lives of the Philosophers."

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?  
Who else writes poetry about Magnum PI?  I'm even working on an appreciative mustache--so this is "method writing."

3) Why do I write what I do? 
Because it makes sense to me, and it's fun.  I once wrote a short poetic series on Frank Sinatra, and it was really liberating.  It allowed me to get into character, while at the same time getting my hands on something that felt real and true.  At the end of the day, these poems get a laugh, but they also offer a sustained meditation not only on American masculinity but my own complicated relationship with it.

4) How does your writing process work?  
Erratically.  I'm an academic as well as a creative writer, and sometimes these vocations nourish one other; at other times, they just get in each other's way.  Basically, the passing days offer a lot of brief windows that I try to make the most of.  I also have to watch a lot of old Clint Eastwood movies; in that way, you can say I'm quite process-oriented.

Martin Woodside

Mar 29, 2014


Gellu Naum (1915 -- 2001) is one of the greatest European poets of 20th century.  He
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 ironical at the same time. His verse contains varied infinities while staying mysteriously homogenous and enlightened by the pursuit of the same unmistaken path.

Mar 24, 2014

MARGENTO--My Writing Process--Blog Tour

Thanks to poet Amanda Earl for inviting me to do this.  She writes about her own writing process here.

1) What am I working on?

MARGENTO: I am working on a poem already (re)written by other poets.  More explicitly, I am currently working on a topological poem mapping certain places by means of poems by poets who (in conventional terms) have never been to those particular places.  I rediscover America and describe it by means of poems from writers (that is, travelers) who never reached it or never suspected even existed.  In mathematical terms, I define a mapping from various ‘foreign’ corpora of poetry to my own ‘familiar’ spaces.  The ‘foreign’ will thus not only become ‘familiar’, it will actually prove itself to be the only possible way to experience, operate with, and translate the latter.  The topographical by means of the topological.  Coauthored with other poets (that is, translators).  There is no self but the other, which is for ourselves to discover through the others.  My Bucharest a Babel of bible bootleggers and babbling poets.

Apparently independently from that, but not really, I continue my work on the project titled the “graph poem” (graph as in network of nodes and edges) now at a more specifically academic level, together with Professor Diana Inkpen and a few of her graduate students in Computer Science at uOttawa doing research on and developing computational poetry machine learning and generation applications.

Also, I am curating the Poetries & Communities Project here, and working with people on a couple of continents on the third MARGENTO album. 

Last but not least, the premiere of amazing composer and singer Bogdan Bradu's rock opera I wrote the libretto for--Masca Lumii--is due later this year.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

M: It differs by the fact that it is openly and programmatically the same as the others.  And not (only) in the sense of Kenneth Goldsmith’s uncreative writing.  The problem is not being different or identical (no poem is the same with itself [just as nothing is the same with itself, since everything is a poem], and therefore, a poem that integrates poems as such is different from anything else anyway), the problem is how much and how representatively a poetry can absorb, integrate, and process (from) others.  Poetry nowadays must be an n-dimensional verse space, as its form and composition inevitably involve the links and commonalities it discovers, explores, and develops between ongoing poetries.  Its writing is a form of reading, and reading it is getting involved in its process of composition.  The map of the graph poem is the meaning of our world’s poetries, and that meaning is the generation of the graph poem. 

3) Why do I write what I do?

M: Are you kidding me?  Okay, well, maybe in certain respects, as Swift once put it, “for, what though his head be empty, provided his common-place book be full.”

4) How does your writing process work?

M: Whenever I get started I realize (I start hearing) a lot has already been going on and all I have to do is join the jam session and try and not embarrass the others.  The better I fit in—especially when doing my solos—the better I get to know them while making myself heard: that’s my way of being ‘original’, as a full time traveling translator.  And when I think I’m done, I discover (I start seeing) how things have already started to branch out across a wondrous new community of familiar voices: that’s my kind of ‘conformity’, sharing after-hours the form in which the others translate my own communal work.

Next week's blog tour participants are:

Felix Nicolau is the author of four collections of poetry, two novels, and five books of literary and communication theory: Homo Imprudens, 2006; Anticanonice (Anticanonicals), 2009; Codul lui Eminescu (Eminescu’s Code), 2010; and Estetica inumană: de la Postmodernism la Facebook (The Inhuman Aesthetics: from Postmodernism to Facebook), 2013; Fluturele-curcan: specii ameninţătoare (The Turkey-Butterfly: Dangerous Species), 2013. He is on the editorial boards of Poesis International, The Muse--an International Journal of Poetry, and Metaliteratura.

Martin Woodside is a writer, translator, and a founding member of Calypso Editions. He’s published five books for children, a chapbook of poetry, Stationary Landscapes and an anthology of Romanian poetry in translation, Of Gentle Wolves. Along with MARGENTO (Chris Tanasescu), he edited and translated a collection of Romanian poet Gellu Naum’s work entitled Athanor and Other Pohems. Martin spent 2009-10 on a Fulbright in Romania, studying contemporary Romanian poetry. Currently, he lives with his family in Philadelphia and is a doctoral candidate in Childhood Studies at Rutgers-Camden.

Raluca Tanasescu is a PhD student in Translation Studies at University of Ottawa and the translator of 11 volumes (fiction and non-fiction), as well as of many poetry selections. She is currently working on her doctoral research project titled Songs of Globalization: Trans/Inter-Cultural Patterns in North-American Poetry Translated into French and Romanian. 

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