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— but the life he charted then, in Bucharest, in 1942, under the oppressive weight of a generalized Fascism, is hair-raising, and in its way foundational. As a Jew and a surrealist, the strikes against him were immanent. If caught, he would have faced execution or virtual enslavement in a work gang or a concentration camp. Somehow he survived avoiding each of those terrible possibilities, and somehow he and his surrealist friends found a way to endure, a small clandestine counter-force to a war-torn nightmare, sustained in secrecy. For Luca, that kind of secrecy filtered through Inventor of Love as a kind of sub-text, revealing itself here and there, ever charging the momentum and heat he brought to his writing, and the desperation that drove him to his five failed suicide attempts. His living space become a kind of involuntary extenuation of that desperation — as much to rid himself of the familial organs that fed a scarred and fatally innocuous routine that love had become, and still, in 2013, is (drained of its violently asocial passion into a bastion for sexuality or child-rearing and oedipal relations) as to provoke the poetic as it was then, as it could be, and as he configured it amidst those circumstances. But poetry like living is a complex affair, and from it, however striking its revelations are, and however hermetically it secures its sources, seep echoes of the quotidian. In fact, unless there is a clear rapprochement between the two, I usually suspect the result is too much of one or another, be it mask or vision or some other stridency that eludes our frailty and needs or other qualities that might not measure up to a particular idea. What is lyricism in this sense other than a resonant bridge between the realities we face each and every day and the desires that push us, unrelentingly, to write? The one without, the one with less than, the other, perennially abstracts from language a tone that can, and often does, create literature but not that elsewhere in this world that makes of the poem an unforgettable, irreducible act of rapport: between us and the biosphere, and the things and systems we live with or revolt against.

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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...

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