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Mircea Ivanescu


Ivanescu's poetry represents the achievement of a little known master. Centring on a wide cast of characters, including his alter ego 'mopete', Ivanescu's idiosyncratic, lyrical sensibility offers allusive, comic and elegiac meditations on our common lot.

Cover Art and Colour Section
Florica Prevenda takes the face as a fundamental theme and contemplates the wide range of emotions and anxieties that haunt the human condition nowadays, including the developing depersonalisation of social networks and the reification of consumerism. Existentially pithy messages are inscribed through the surface. As with Ivanescu's poetry, the affects are elusive, yet evocative.

Mircea Ivanescu
Botosani Mihai Eminescu National Poetry Prize
Deceptively self-contained, gently ironic and stylishly parodic, Mircea Ivanescu's poetry is a source of intrigue and fascination. A noted translator of English and German literature including James Joyce's monumental text Ulysses and works by Franz Kafka and William Faulkner, Ivanescu is regarded as one of Romania's most important contemporary writers.

He deserves to be read not only in order to seek out his unique and subjective lyricism, but also for the surprising capacity to generate from self-sufficiency a kind of gentle altruism, combined with the values and with the forms of an alternative world.

Virgil Nemoianu
Essayist, literary critic, and philosopher of culture

Refined, cultivated, ironic (without asperity), subtextual, the poetry of Mircea Ivanescu is the work of one of the most original contemporary Romanian poets.

Nicolae Manolescu
Literary critic and editor of Romania Literara

is poetry different?
you mustn't tell stories in poetry - i read
this advice to a young poet - so i won't tell
how she'd awaken very early in the morning and, sitting up in bed,
wait to catch her breath, her face hidden in her hands -
i won't say anything about her weary look
that made her shoulders droop before the mirror, when
slowly she combed her hair. i won't confess my fears
beside her estranged face, turned away from me.
i won't walk anywhere with my lines in my hands as if holding a mirror
to reflect those mornings with their pale grey light
moments before dawn. poetry - so it's written - mustn't
be representation, a succession of images. poetry
must be inward speech. thus, should i
be speaking again about her drowned face, her gasps
for breath? but that would be only my way of speaking
about her face, about her freeze-frame movements fixed
between layers of turbid regret, of thoughts solely mine,
about her image - it would be only a mask, an image -
while she - her true self, what about that?

mopete and the game with stained glass
this morning mopete entered the room barely
by the wintry reflections of the early snow,
and at once beheld dark rowena. the lamp invited
her to rise from her table in the transparent glow

of her globe and made her very solemn. mopete
watched her
with fascination. dark rowena, with her upraised eyes -
those very deep eyes - was far away. so far
that mopete could scarcely distinguish her from

of other shoulders, other arms folded across the chest.
mopete became afraid - cruel and precise, pressed
between his eyes, burned the time he had been allotted.

(he told himself all this much later, but that's another story, another text).
dark rowena's eyes pierced high into the vaulted
dome of time, only hers - and a terrified mopete watched, transfixed.

pretend you're at the theatre - your back to the window,
watching the room, waiting
for one of them to say something, to move,
and thus to reveal what he thinks,
or what he'd let you suppose he thinks.
and for you to choose among them (not because you believe
some more sincere, but because among these
characters, for instance the woman whose eyes have gone blind,
there are a few you'd like to have met in a book -).
choose that one among the rest, approach
her, and mischievously taking her arm, guide her
to the window and talk to her,
self-absorbed as if spellbound - as they say - though with your eyes elsewhere,
encourage her to draw out the sincerity of this moment in this space -
more or less - and she might actually start to believe
she is being sincere, and her face
might change, first vile, then blind once more,
while you watch as in a dizzy fit, a glassy taste
between your teeth, you watch only the sick light on her face.

Mircea Ivanescu - Lines Poems Poetry

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Lines Poems Poetry

publication date: 14 November 2009
ISBN 978-1-84102-2
230 x 150mm
16 page colour section
head and tail bands
112 pages

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