In Romania under communist rule, forbidden to write but allowed to work as a builder on Ceausescu’s palace, Ioan Es. Pop lived alone in a batchelor block. His poetry is an autobiographical account of this time. A life with no way out. Having originally been a teacher in a village that he later gives the fictional name of Hadesburg, Pop’s writing expresses his response to such a life. The world of the poems is a closed, boundless, imaginary space charged with dramatic and tempered by a bittersweet, compassionate existential angst. This is hadesburg and anywhere you run to will be hadesburg.
No Way Out of Hadesburg is the product of a sympathetic imagination, the expression of a genial, compassionate sensibility. Pop’s gift is for understated comedy rather than mordant protest at life or excoriation of human destiny. This is true despite the centrality of the story about the death of Mircea, the speaker’s double, with whom he lived in unbearable cold one long winter without wood for heating.
Prize for Debut awarded by the Romanian Writers’ Union and the Writers’ Union Prize, Prize of the City of Bucharest, and the Romanian Academy Prize for the volume Pantelimon 113 bis. The Prize of the Association of Romanian Professional Writers and The Romanian Writers’ Union Prize for the volume Pedestrian Party.