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sâmbătă, 1 noiembrie 2014

Ilya Kaminsky about my new poetry book - Hipster, time IS honey

It is no secret that Romanian poetry today is—by far—the strongest poetic generation in Eastern Europe, the way the Russians were in 1920s and 1930 or the Polish were in 1950-1970s. Romanian poetry is wild, memorable, full of images that wake us up from our capitalist dream turned nightmare. Lorca’s dictum that « poet is a professor of five senses » is alive and well among contemporary Romanian poets whose work is full of sensual world. Felix Nicolau’s work in these powerful new translations by Margento is a perfect example of what Romanians today can do in English. His poems sing in a way that Cattulus was singing.
There is a strange, beautiful energy, there is salt, there is vision, there is brotherhood. There is Kharms-like absurdism and very contemporary tone; the poems are full of chairs, flip-flops, puppies, facebook, ugly scents, slang, curses and also desire, memory, astonishment. There is a salsa-dancer who breaks the poet’s windows twice a month, and life is a catwalk thrusting into the crowd of fans and binoculars. Raise your foot up! the poet yells at us. Straighten your knee! Bristle your moustache! Modern poetry that is so very asleep behind the covers of little family narratives or language-games does need to be yelled at. It needs to be woken up and taught all over again what human senses are, and what a terror and slap-on-the-face it is to be alive in our time. This «slap on the face of public taste» that once woke the 20th century up, is here again, in our time: and it is here to stay. This is real poetry, ladies and gentlemen, and it doesn’t care whether or not you like it, for you are made in its image. It—as Frank O’Hara suggested all good poetry must—rides on the naked nerve.

—Ilya Kaminsky

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