Page 57

on a global scale, and the pressures of an exploding population in countries that can barely support them. We live in a time that World War Two can easily mirror, however much in a minor key it can seem from our perspective; and that a poet, like Luca, can clarify and transform if by values precisely intimate: for him and for us. After encountering Luca in the early 1940s, it also doesn’t matter so much that the stakes we face play out as if the rules are set, our intensities ever conflictive, and our hopes focused on carving out, from the quotidian maze, as much living and creative space as we can. Performing Inventor of Love for the launch of Self-Shadowing Prey revealed to me, and to the audience I faced, that Luca was a poet whose work reverberated then, seventy plus years ago, despite his extreme marginalization, and now; with some of his work, for readers of English, finally present. Given the emotional subtext nourished by his place, that beleaguered Bucharest and the greater bloody communion of conquest, his struggle to mediate it through the poetic has consequence. Nor was this merely the vindication of a fascinating poet but the valorization of a sensibility that touches us. His later, mature works will enchant those willing enough to encounter them, and him. And it comes with a change of address. In 1952, as the “socialist” revolution in Romania consolidates, a stepchild of Stalinist Russia, Luca flees to Paris through Israel. That the surrealist group in Bucharest had previously reached an apogee with public interventions between the end of the war and 1947, thereafter dispersing beneath the tide of cultural and political repression, makes Luca’s flight all the more necessary and all the more poignant. His rage in response and in retrospect, a blast of desert heat in a foreign space, the space of exile, refines. It is in Paris, too, that he enriches his signature positions on love and nature with a performative approach that echoes Dada techniques. Is the presence of Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven floating above Luca, a guardian angel he may never have known about but

49

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