Thursday 31 March 2011

Magazine Moment (21) : Orizont Literar Contemporan, Romania

Annul IV - Nr.1 (21) Ian. - Febr. 2011 ~ 64 pagini
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The latest issue of Orizont Literar Contemporan is brimming with material from diverse corners of the globe, including Spain, France, USA, UK, Patagonia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Italy, Russia, Kenya, Germany ... and, of course, Romania. 

Editor-in-chief, Daniel Dragomirescu, has once again succeeded in blending a rich and potent concoction of international culture and literature. The final (fictional) contribution in this number is an excerpt from Daniel's novel-in-progress, 'Un Om Printre Oameni' | 'A Man Among Men'. It concerns a country with an 'existential climate' that is healthy 'for all Romanians'. By the same token, the magazine itself surely reflects a 'healthy' and dynamic global community of (largely literary) artists who long to exchange and share cultural ideas and enterprises.

Take Juana Castillo Escobar, for example. She pens an engaging and personal portrait of 'The Literary Life in Madrid', describing the city as 'a crucible of culture', which supports three tiers of literary activity. On the other side of the Atlantic we find Professor Donald Riggs teaching Creative Writing in universities in Philadelphia, USA. The format he describes for a writing workshop is very similar to the monthly gatherings of the Tuesday Poetry group I attend here in Swansea, the home town of Dylan Thomas. I was fascinated to discover that Riggs, who has 'nothing against free verse', prescribes the writing of at least '250 haiku over the course of the 10-week term' in addition to the writing of other formal poetry, by way of counter-balancing the current trends. The poetic sound dimension (perhaps what Professor Lewis Turco would call 'The Sonic Level') is of paramount importance for Riggs, who advocates the reading aloud of work in a workshop. 

And so to the poems themselves. Lunar subjects seem to be on the ascndancy this time. Canadian poet, Carole St-Aubin, takes as her subject, 'La Lune et moi'. I am immediately drawn to another succinct poem, 'The Moon', by Peggy Landsman from USA. This poem is perhaps more like a tiny star, and yet within its compact frame, we find the moon in the guise of 'white whale'. There is something charming and almost playful about this piece. I, for one, am particularly drawn to its imagery. The following passage from Anthony Trollope's Barchester Chronicles comes to mind:

"How indeed!" said Bertie. "Why shouldn't there be a race of salamanders in Venus? And even if there be nothing but fish in Jupiter, why shouldn't the fish there be as wide awake as the men and women here?"

I have barely scratched the surface, but I hope I may have whetted your appetite a little. Do consider taking up a subscription or paying for a sample copy (please contact Daniel via the link above). In these days of global uncertainty, it is a great joy and privilege to experience aspects of the literary life from diverse and often unusual perspectives. Thank you, Daniel and friends, not forgetting the University of Bucharest translation team at MTTLC.  

 Past contributors, with a presence on the web ...

1 comment:

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Thank you, dear Caroline.
All the best from Bucharest!