by Paula Erizanu
Italian novelist Elena Ferrante declared in an interview that a book is the product of two communities: the community of contemporary and classical writers, who have contributed to the tradition on which an author builds their style, and the immediate community, the group gathered around the author, the one whose experiences they transpose on paper or on the screen.
Moldova’s young writers are, linguistically and socially, very much part of the Romanian literary community, especially due to social media, the Romanian book market and literary events that bring together writers from both sides of the river Prut.
In poetry in particcular, this community has been shaped by summer schools and cenacles — a Romanian tradition whereby groups of young people that meet regularly in order to read and exchange feedback on their writing, under the guidance of recognised writers. Through his summer school at Râșca, Romania, as well as private conversations, the Romanian poet Adrian Urmanov had a formative influence on the Chișinău-based poet Hose Pablo and poet and philosopher Alex Cosmescu, who applies the principles of phenomenology to his verse on quotidian experiences, and Andrei Gamarț, currently based in Bucharest and working as a visual artist and graphic designer. These poets were part of the group Human Zone and, together with other writers, such as Aurelia Borzin, who edited the literary magazine Clipa/Moment, they took part in the Literary Club, organised by Dumitru Crudu and Nicolae Popa in the Moldovan capital. After the Literary Club, Crudu also organised the cenacles Vlad Ioviță and New Barbarians/Noii Barbari, as well as summer schools in Orheiul Vechi, where I met my peers: Ion Buzu, Victor Țvetov, whose recurrent (but not exclusive) theme — like in the case of Hose Pablo — is precarity, Cristina Dicusar, who is assering herself both as a poet and a literary critic commenting on the work of writers of her generation, poets and short story writers Irina Bruma and Ana Donțu, poet Anatol Grosu, all three of them members of the cenacle New Zone/ Zona Nouă in Sibiu, led by the poet Radu Vancu, Carolina Vozian, who continued her formation and activity within the Literatură și Feminism/ Literature and Feminism group in Bucharest. Today, two cenacles are active: Dumitru Crudu’s and Republica, by Moni Stănilă, being attended by the more intimist, confessional poets Veronica Ștefăneț, Anastasia Palii, Artur Cojocaru, Artiom Oleacu, Augustina Visan or Rodica Gotca, or Dan Negară, who mixes impressions of life in the countryside with signs of modernity. Aura Maru, who has recently completed her PhD at the prestigious American Berkeley University, was guided by Emilian Galaicu-Păun. Following literary studies in Brașov, Romania, Dumitru Fanfarov mixes rap music with political poetry. Cătălina Bălan, Elena Chilari are other Bessarabian poets now living in Romania. Ronin Terente, meanwhile, is active in the sphere of poetry performance.
The work of many of these poets has been pulished in generational anthologies: Cine nu e mângâiat nu există. Antologia generației 2000/ That Who Is Not Caressed Does Not Exist. The Anthology of the Generation 2000, (Cartier Publishing House, 2021) coordinated by Alex Cosmescu and Anastasia Gavrilovici, Antologie de Poezie Tânără din Basarabia/ The Anthology of Young Poetry from Bessarabia (Arc, 2020) or Poezia BASA / BASA Poetry (Arc, 2019), coordinated by Lucia Țurcanu.
Cenacles appear to be very fertile for poetry, while prose writing seems to require more stubborness, discipline and solo time.
Author of a very authentic and moving novel, Câinele de bronz/ The Bronze Dog, Emanuela Iurkin is one of the most interesting writers of our generation, along with Alexandru Bordian, who takes literary experiment and the absurd back into contemporary political and historical literary fiction through his novels, Casa mai multor primăveri/ The House of Several Springs and Casa Inglesi/ The Inglesi House, Valentina Șcerbani, with her poetic novel Orașul promis/The Promised City, Irina Bruma, in her millimetrically weighed short story collection (that can also be read like a novel), Perfect nemulțumită/ Perfectly discontent, Dinu Guțu with Intervenția/ The Intervention, a novel about ultras, and Perestroika Boys, a fictionalised account of the Chișinău of the years 2000, Sașa Zare (pseudonym) with her queer novel Dezrădăcinare/ Uprooting.
But you can make your own mind from the literary extracts below:
Posters by Sandul & Ana Vasina
I have all the reasons to get mad
all the reasons to through jars out of my window
to fall to the ground to get hysterical
but the only time I beat my fist into the wall
I hit the light switch
and the light that bursted out of the bulb
made me feel ashamed
Paula Erizanu is a journalist and writer, author of the historical feminist novel Ard pădurile/ The Woods Are Burning (Cartier Publishing House, 2021) and coordinator, together with Alina Purcaru, of the anthology Un secol de poezie română scrisă de femei/ A Century of Romanian Poetry Written by Women (Cartier Publishing House 2019-2021).
* The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the position of the Romanian Cultural Institute, but exclusively the opinions of the author.