Romania Poetry

According to Findjobdescriptions, the field of poetry is always dominated, after a silence of a few years, by the exceptional personality of Tudor Arghezi (1880-1967). But the corifeo of “militant” lyricism is Beniuc, who, moreover, continues his own line of civic and political inspiration; but also poets already known as M. Breslaşu (1903-1966), MR Paraschivescu (1911-1971) and, with a great success, E. Jebeleanu (1911), evocator of the enormous contemporary tragedies (Surîsul Hiroshimei, ” Hiroshima’s smile”, 1956-58, Etna-Taormina 1970 prize). Among the female representatives of opera, M. Banuş (1914) stands out for her civic commitment, with a poem of humanitarian inspiration, Ţ ie – ţ i vorbesc,, “I speak to you, America”, 1955. Condemning themselves to long silences, however, there are those who remain faithful to the singularity of their lyrical vocation: Al. Philippide (1910) long defends his ecstatic visionarism and the meditative and abstract character of his inner conversation, exercising his severe technique in excellent translations. The almost octogenarian V. Voiculescu (1884-1963), after a long silence and bitter events, astounds the critics with a precious cycle of sonnets – ninety-four! – titling The last imaginary W sonnetsShakespeare, written in the period 1954-58 and published posthumously in 1964. For the superb workmanship and the height of the inspiration, they are worthily placed on the aesthetic and philosophical line of the model and make the Voiculescu one of the greatest contemporary lyricists. Encouraged by a narrowly conformist criticism, the younger poets indulge in polemical indictment and encomiastic oratory. With N. Labiş (1935-56) and with M. Isanos (1916-1944) two outspoken voices of poets disappear prematurely. But in general, even when it comes to the most sincere temperaments – an E. Frunză (1917), a M. Dragomir (1919-1964), an Al. Andriţoiu (1929) – one tends to confuse patriotism, pathetism, triumphalistic optimism with poetry.

Among the poets born between the second and third decade there are those who do not give up on freeing themselves from dogmatism, even if the effort is paralyzed by official critical control. In the number of those who manage to save their own lyrical physiognomy, different from one poet to another, breaking away from an obligatory theme, there are AE Baconsky (1925-1977) and L. Dimov (1926), V. Felea (1923) and A. Rău (1930), G. Dumetrescu (1920), Romania Stanca (1920-62), T. George (1926), Şt. Aug. DoinaŞ (1922) and others. The most revolutionary operation on the cultural level is the progressive and ever more daring recovery of the previous poetry. In addition to the main event, represented by the “discovery” of L. Blaga (1895-1961), brought to the attention of the younger generations only in 1962, critical essays and reprints are dedicated to Bacovia and Barbu,

At the same time (we are around 1960), we are witnessing the affirmation of a generation of poets who proclaim themselves “fighting against inertia”. The best known names are M. Sorescu (1936), N. Stănescu (1933), S. Mărculescu (1936), A. Blandiana (1942), Ion Alexandru (1942), A. Păunescu (1943) but they are not the only ones . These poets sometimes reveal themselves, almost by reaction, to be iconoclastic experimentalists on the level of techniques; but they are – above all – more and more inserted into an authentic vision of modern man who, in order to be such, cannot fail to be dramatically problematic, even if this man is a communist. Even the poets who are entrusted with official vigilance over the restless innovators venture in this direction. In this new climate that makes room for the sacred and the ineffable, it could appear, even if in a stingy choice, edited by D. Pillat, the religiously inspired poem by Şt. Neniţescu: the collection, entitled Ani, “Anni”, 1973, nourished by neoplatonic and patristic spirituality, represents a very difficult and almost esoteric reading.

Strongly conditioned by the theses of “socialist realism” is also the theater, which in the previous period, with L. Blaga and C. Petrescu, had entered the most modern European currents, becoming the theater of symbols and ideas. The most rigid and monotonous schematism finds exemplary expression in the works of Al. Voitin, 1915 (Oameni în lupt ă, “Men in struggle”, 1960) and of P. Everac, 1924 (Ferestre deschise, “Open windows”, 1959). But even when writers try to grasp the reflection of social conflicts on the level of conscience, such as eg. L. Demetrius, 1910 (Trei generates ţ ii, “Three generations”, 1956), critical and public success is no guarantee of aesthetic validity. The reserve also extends to highly represented works such as Cetatea de foc, “The citadel of fire”, 1950, by M. Davidoglu (1910); Mielul turbat, “The infuriated lamb”, 1953, by A. Baranga (1913); Ziari St ii, “Journalists”, in 1956, Al Mirodan (1927); Citadela sf ă rîmat ă, “The fortress in pieces”, 1954, by the most famous H. Lovinescu (1917). The younger generation, however, distances itself, breaking the prison of a thesis whose sincerity no one believes anymore. Here too we are witnessing the recovery of condemned theatrical forms (see theater by L. Blaga). In the field of original creation, the historical trend is renewed, through a modern ideological vision, while the theater of metaphysical inspiration reappears. However, only after being successfully presented in French translation on a foreign scene (Geneva, “Nouveau théâtre de poche”, 1974) the powerful drama of M. Sorescu, Matca, “The matrix”, managed to overcome the silence of the criticism and the perplexity of the directors.

Lovinescu died in 1943, the field of criticism was dominated by two exceptional personalities: T. Vianu (1897-1964) and G. Călinescu (1899-1965), flanked by militant critics, of rich cultural background and attentive sensitivity: P. Costantinescu, V. Streinu (1902-70), Ş. Cioculescu (1902), D. Panateiscu known as Perpessicius (1891-1970). The latter has the merit of having laid the foundations for the monumental critical edition of M. Eminescu in forty years of work, which unfortunately remained interrupted in the sixth volume. Although the tribute, which even a critic like Călinescu paid to political directives, continues to be solicited, the exegesis of the best has returned to the wake of a tradition that goes from Maiorescu to Lovinescu, redeeming the primacy of the axiological criterion, to be imposed with recourse to literary tools that are proper to criticism, even the most modern, such as mathematical linguistics, which has in Ş. MarcuŞ a forerunner and a teacher. In the most recent summaries, some of them excellent (e.g. OS Crohmălniceanu, Literatura român ă între cele don š r ă zboaie worldwide, “Romanian literature between the two world wars”, 1967-75), the aesthetic criterion is not overwhelmed by the sociologism prevailing at the time of proletcultism. With the death of P. Comarnescu (1905-70) art criticism lost a refined scholar, always able to grasp, as he had done since 1944 with BrâncuŞi, the relationship between specific national characteristics and the universal character of creation.

Cultural contacts through translations s ‘ break against the Western world and the presence of Russian literature is also dominant in magazines (one eccezionc the magazine Steaua, “The Star”, Cluj, under the courageous leadership of AE Baconsky). But here too, little by little, a process of openness takes place that extends to universal literature. See for all the excellent panorama of contemporary universal poetry edited by A. Baconsky, 1972, of almost a thousand pages. Saba and Montale return next to Lermontov; Rimbaud, Trakl, Rilke, Vellejo, Neruda, Machado; prose writers like Kafka or Mann find their place next to Tomasi di Lampedusa, Buzzati, Faulkner. The relations with Italy deserve a particular note, with translations and essays ranging from contemporary authors and movements (I. Cornel, Il gruppo 63, released in 1967) to the more demanding of our classics. In the university field, a recently deceased scholar, N. Façon, who leaves serious scholarly contributions, translates the History of Italian Literature by De Sanctis, 1966, The Prince and The Stories by N. Machiavelli, 1968. His pupils support him in this direction and continue his initiatives, including, very active, G. Lăzărescu (Tasso, Epistolario, 1956; Alberti, Of painting, 1966). An Italianist with a strong poetic temperament, E. Boeriu, recreates in Romanian, with prodigious capacity for stylistic adaptation to individual works, the Divine Comedy, the Rhymes of Petrarca, the Decameron and the Cortegiano del Castiglione. To the tribute paid by European culture to Michelangelo in 1975, Romania collaborated with the translation of the Rhymes again by Boeriu, which since 1964 had been partly preceded, and with excellent results, by C. Zeletin.

The writers of the “diaspora” naturally contribute to characterizing the panorama of contemporary Romanian literature, some of them now famous as E. Ionescu; but to a large extent they have renounced Romanian as an expressive tool for their major works.

Romania Poetry