Page 102

direful series of distressful trials, a couple of years earlier at the same said Academy. I first encountered Luca in conjunction with the other great Romanian surrealist poet, Gellu Naum. The two were the leaders of the Romanian surrealist group during the nineteen thirties and forties, when the activities of the Romanian surrealists, it is said, surpassed those of their French confreres. Naum’s works, banned for many years after the communist regime took power, with Naum himself imprisoned for a time during the nineteen fifties, were published (or re-published) in Romania during a short period of easing of restrictions in the early seventies.1 Gellu Naum, unlike most of the other Romanian surrealists, chose to remain in Romania, because he felt close to the Romanian language and did not wish to write in another. Although I translated Naum into English, both by myself and together with Laura, I must say that only when the ear is finely attuned to Naum’s subtle use of Romanian, mixing magic and the marvelous with the intimately familiar tone of colloquial speech, can the translator successfully render his poetry into English. So many times translations can mirror the exact words into the translated language but miss the poetry. Although Laura does not speak Romanian, her enlarged scope of affinity for uncertain borders curling in accordance with the unique essences of the languages in question helped to make Naum’s poems sound perfectly natural in American English, retaining muance, innuendo, cultural reference, rhythm. This is probably due to her experience as a musician, as a singer. She would say that musicians and poets share a common origin, lautarii, traveling evocateurs and communicants, sensitive to alliteration, to pitch, to snap of consonant, color of vowel, tone and overtone. But although Naum’s work was available for transmission then, Luca’s wasn’t. And Luca intriguingly demands the test of spoken performance, as he himself exemplified in his own incantatory performances. 1

Neruda, after a visit during the 1950s to the East European socialist bloc countries, stated to interviewers that the artists there were permitted to create in perfect freedom.

94

Profile for Contra Mundum Press

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

Advertisement