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Luca was born into a liberal Jewish family as Salman Locker in 1913, in Bucharest, Romania. He was attracted to avant-garde poetry at a young age and became fluent in Yiddish, Romanian, German, and French. By the late 1930s he was traveling frequently to Paris, where he became friends with the Surrealists. Thanks to a convoluted destiny and an unimaginable accident of fate, Luca became one of the major poets of French/Romanian literature. His contributions to French poetry and theoretical Surrealism were championed by the likes of surrealist poet/artist/critic Jean-Louis Bedouin (1929–1996), philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) (who also jumped to his death, from his apartment window), and psychiatrist Pierre-Felix Guattari (1930–1992). Luca’s groundbreaking avant-garde poetry influenced other poets such as Gellu Naum, Dolfi Trost, and Virgil Teodorescu. Luca burned his mark into modern French poetry by means of a fierce irreverence, intellectual daring, risky puns, and changing the meaning of words through “stuttering and stammering.” Early on he chose the pseudonym Gherasim Luca as an “ironicnecrophilia,” the name appropriated from an obituary notice, and considered his work as conjuring the void at the heart of language and of existence itself. "The void voided of its void is fullness," he once remarked. As a young man, Luca read an essay that would have a lasting effect on him, "On Not Wanting to Live," published by his compatriot Emil M. Cioran, who wrote: “There are experiences which one cannot survive, after which one feels that there is no meaning left in anything. Life breeds plenitude and void, exuberance and depression. I am only 22 and I am already a specialist in the question of death.”1 From 1939–1946, along with Trost, Naum, Teodorescu and Paul Paun, Luca formed the core of the Bucharest Surrealists. Luca and Trost co                                                                                                               1

E.M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair, tr. by Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984) 8.

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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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