An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
Editura Perpessicius
Bd 1 Decembrie 1918 Nr.72
Bl. VN5, Sc A Et 3Ap 14
Sector 3, O.P.72
Cod postal 032469
ISBN 978 973 8477 63 6

A later collection is Miresme si Greieri

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This is a small perfect-bound paperback with a striking avant-garde full-colour cover illustration. It includes 104 haiku on 114 pages. Each poem appears singly on a page, first in Romanian, then followed by translations into English and French. There is also a two-page introduction in each of these languages. It would appear that this is the author's fourth solo work, and that she has also had work included in three anthologies.

The rarity of a Romanian poet's work appearing in English is itself a cause to give this small book some notice. There are, however, unsurprisingly, given the fledgling state of Romanian publishing for the international market, some unlucky irregularities of style and format in the book the translation in the PREFACE, for example, is very uneven. A few poems suffer as well from oddly un-idiomatic phrasing. Nevertheless, the poems themselves are often singular in outlook and quite striking in manner.

The book is divided into four sections corresponding with the four seasons. Here are a few examples illustrating the author's gentle, earnest voice, which never relinquishes its patience or its sense of hopefulness:

	Under the falling stars 
	the gentle tulips 
	sign of prayer.

		Wild poppy flowers 
		under the peasant's steps 
		late harvest
The structure shown by these two poems presenting a single image in the first line, juxtaposing it with another in the second line, before synthesising them for a transcendent view in the third is the one most commonly exercised in the book. It is one very often seen in haiku, and it is used advantageously here. But more arresting, are poems like this one, where each succeeding line adds a sense of surprise and wonder which fully exploits the printed page's limitations:
	Our first kiss  
	a curious butterfly 
	above us!
Once in a while, the order of presentation might be altered advantageously, as in the following poem, where the three lines might be re-arranged in almost any order:
	A leafage carpet  
	Byzantine prints 
	in front of the hermitage
... Still, for all its occasional small lapses, this is an intriguing collection, utilising a complex blend of ideas and images that is sometimes very unlike so much poetry in this form, as in this poem from the winter section:
	First snowfall  
	the chrysanthemums are fading 
	in the white sea...
It is an attractive read, and the slight feeling of newness in the discovery of such work, even in the quirkiness of its production and translation, gives the reader a welcome sense of the exotic.

reviewer: John Ballam.