Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Only Loneliness & Other Poems— Constantin Abăluță

Dec 14, 2022 | Poetry | 1 comment

Translated from the Romanian by Victor Pambuccian


Only Loneliness 

Only loneliness knows what a word is
only the rain knows when you’ll leave for good
you listen on the phone to how a friend’s cat is purring
and you let streets fall into ravines

there is so much negligence in me
the books on the bookshelves don’t protect me
you love the umbrella with a hole in it, don’t you,
the one you once wanted to turn into a lampshade

askance clouds watch you from the ceiling
the infinite is teeming on the mirror’s back
that’s the fate of those who get born
that’s the mask of those with the gift of speech

the cat is purring on the phone, my old man,
only loneliness knows what a word is. 

When I’ll Cease To Be Human 

The opportunity to be in this life
of which I am complaining day in, and day out
the opportunity to have tongue with olives for lunch
the opportunity to take a walk in front
of the block of flats I live in
to gather from the air the sad thoughts of people
like a supersonic magnet
is there such a thing?
I am the one I’m telling myself
we are so lonely on this planet
prey to the climate viruses kings presidents
we move some fingers and are afraid
we look out the window and are afraid
blood is gushing from eyes every moment
we are so anomalous
gushes of disfigured blood human life
when I’ll cease to be human, I’ll truly live. 

On Moon’s Street

To Nina, in memoriam

To live
on moon’s street
to have above you
the illusion of the sea in your ears
some paving stones
to love you blindly
recognizing your step
every time it stumbles over them
and a unique elevator
to lead you throughout your life
to a terrace
some clouds
to greet you
every day
and to walk your fingers
as if playing melodies on a piano
until the last moment
of this life
this cosmically beautiful life. 

Also, read a book review of Temsula Ao ‘s These Hills Called Home written by Ahana Bhattacharjee, and published in The Antonym:

An Intimate Portrait Of Nagaland— Ahana Bhattacharjee

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Born in 1938 in Bucharest, Romania, Constantin Abăluţă studied architecture, graduating in 1961. His first volume of poetry was published in 1964, and in 1969 he stopped practicing architecture to devote his time entirely to writing poetry, prose, literary criticism, theater, translating, and drawing (he designed the covers of all of his books, more than forty volumes, and drew all the illustrations). Several of his poetry books have been translated into French, one volume has been translated into Dutch, and another one into English. The recipient of several Rumanian and international prizes, he also was the Vice–President of the Romanian PEN Club.

Victor Pambuccian is a professor of mathematics at Arizona State University. His poetry translations from Romanian, French, and German, have appeared in Words Without Borders, Two Lines, International Poetry Review, Pleiades, and Black Sun Lit. A bilingual anthology of Romanian avant-garde poetry, with his translations, for which he received a 2017 NEA Translation grant, was published in 2018 as ‘Something is still present and isn’t, of what’s gone.’ (Aracne editrice, Rome). He was the guest editor of the Fall 2011 issue of the International Poetry Review.

1 Comment

  1. alice grigorian

    such good translations and such a wonderful project to to bring to western life the spirit of Romanian poetry !
    Congratulations !


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