Corneliu LEU - SECOLUL SI DEMOCRATIA
Mariana Cristescu, Damen Passo Doble, Editura Nico, Târgu Mures, 2012

POEZIA DATA ÎN DAR

Alex STEFANESCU




A trecut vremea cand o antologie era expresia dorintei unui cititor pasionat (eventual profesionist) de a da si altora ocazia de a citi poeziile care l-au incantat pe el. Acum o antologie se alcatuieste din ambitia unui critic literar de a se prezenta in fata opiniei publice ca o instanta suprema sau din nerabdarea unei noi generatii de poeti de a se impune, dupa inlaturarea necrutatoare a celei dinainte.

Ceva din farmecul culegerilor, crestomatiilor, florilegiilor de altadata s-a pierdut. Aproape ca-mi vine sa ma adresez, coplesit de nostalgie ca Eminescu in Epigonii, predecesorilor nostri: „Voi, pierduti in ganduri sante, convorbeati cu idealuri;/ Noi carpim cerul cu stele, noi manjim marea cu valuri”.

Daniel Ionita este unul dintre ultimii romantici ai indeletnicirii de antologator. Stabilit in Australia, la Sydney si avand alta profesie decat aceea de literat, el a continuat sa citeasca, totusi, de-a lungul anilor, poezie romaneasca, asa cum facea si inainte de a se expatria. „Toata povestea – explica Daniel Ionita – a inceput de fapt foarte modest. Intentionam sa traduc cateva poeme pentru copiii mei, nepotii si nepoatele mele si alti cativa prieteni mai tineri. Numitorul comun al acestora era faptul ca, desi stapaneau la nivel de conversatie limba romana, nu erau capabili sa guste poezia romaneasca. Nu erau capabili, cred eu, sa patrunda minunata ei adancime – un pastel unic, dar variat, o voce deosebita printre marile valori poetice ale lumii.”

Ce frumos ar fi daca si autorii de antologii profesionisti ar da dovada de atata candoare si bunacredinta in intreprinderile lor! Daca i-ar avea in minte, ca destinari ipotetici ai versurilor selectate, pe propriii lor copii!

Munca de traducator, care este, intr-un fel, si o munca de critic literar, l-a format, treptat, pe Daniel Ionita, astfel incat el are acum, se poate spune, o constiinta estetica. Dovada cea mai convingatoare o constituie tocmai aceasta antologie a poeziei romanesti moderne, Testament, pe care a dus-o la bun sfarsit cu un efort iesit din comun, dar, in mod paradoxal, si cu placere. Prima remarca pe care o putem face parcurgand sumarul antologiei este ignorarea inocenta a obligatiilor pe care le are (sau crede ca le are) un specialist. Daniel Ionita nu vrea sa ilustreze curente literare si nici sa includa in cartea sa poezii cu valoare de documente de epoca. Scopul sau este acela al fluturelui care zboara din floare in floare: sa culeaga nectar liric cat mai dulce si mai inmiresmat. Selectia, fiind dezinteresata, netendentioasa, este in acelasi timp drastica. Din fiecare poet, autorul retine o singura poezie, uneori doua si, in mod cu totul exceptional, trei.

Poeziile alese sunt, in general, dintre acelea care plac inca de la prima lectura. Drept urmare, pot fi citite pe scena, pot fi puse pe muzica si, mai ales, pot fi folosite pentru induplecarea unui vorbitor de engleza, care poate nici n-a auzit de Romania, sa citeasca literatura romana. Textele sunt asezate in ordine cronologica, dupa anul nasterii poetilor. Vasile Alecsandri, primul din sumar, este prezent cu un „pastel” bine-cunoscut, plin de o voiosie care se transmite cititorului: „Din vazduh cumplita iarna cerne norii de zapada/ Lungi troiene calatoare adunate-n cer gramada/ Fulgii zbor, plutesc in aer ca un roi de fluturi albi/ Raspandind fiori de gheata pe ai tarii umeri dalbi./.../ Dar ninsoarea inceteaza, norii fug, doritul soare/ Straluceste si dizmiarda oceanul de ninsoare/ Iat-o sanie usoara care trece printre vai.../ In vazduh voios rasuna clinchete de zurgalai.” (Iarna) Urmeaza Eminescu (bine a facut autorul selectiei ca n-a inceput cu Eminescu, ar fi fost un mod conventional si neconvingator de a-i evidentia valoarea). Din opera lui poetica Daniel Ionita a ales cu un instinct artistic sigur sonetul Trecut-au anii si Glossa. Sonetul este esenta de eminescianism si, in acelasi timp, este povestea pe scurt a unei vieti in care se poate recunoaste oricine. Glossa isi pastreaza cadenta de metronom gnomic si in versiunea engleza: „Time is passing, time comes yet,/ All is old, and all is new;/ What for good or ill is set/ You can ponder and construe;/ Do not hope and do not worry,/ What is wave, will wave away;/ Though enticing with a flurry,/ Cold remain to all they say.”

Aproape niciun poet roman important nu lipseste din sumar. Dupa Vasile Alecsandri si Eminescu, urmeaza Alexandru Macedonski, George Cosbuc, Tudor Arghezi, Octavian Goga, Ion Minulescu, George Bacovia, Vasile Voiculescu, Ion Pillat, Ion Barbu, Lucian Blaga, Radu Gyr, Magda Isanos, Mihu Dragomir, stefan Augustin Doinas, Ion Caraion, Irina Mavrodin, Nora Iuga, Mircea Ivanescu, Petre Stoica, Nichita Stanescu, Nicolae Labis, Grigore Vieru, Marin Sorescu, Ileana Malancioiu, Cezar Ivanescu, Ana Blandiana, Virgil Mazilescu, Adrian Paunescu, George tarnea, Nicolae Dabija, Leo Butnaru, Leonida Lari, Liliana Ursu, Mircea Dinescu, Daniela Crasnaru, Mircea Cartarescu, Ioan Es. Pop, Lucian Vasilescu, Daniel Banulescu si alti cativa, mai putin cunoscuti. Din Tudor Arghezi, Daniel Ionita a ales, inspirat, Testament, din George Bacovia – Decembre si Plumb, din Ion Barbu – Riga Crypto si Lapona Enigel, din Lucian Blaga – Eu nu strivesc corola de minuni a lumii si Risipei se deda Florarul.

Cu putina engleza pe care o stiu imi da seama ca celebrul poem al lui Radu Gyr, Ridica-te, Gheorghe, ridica-te, Ioane nu are aceeasi forta in traducere, din simplul motiv ca numele Gheorghe si Ion, la vocativ, elemente de baza in constructia poemului, sunt inevitabil lipsite de rezonanta afectiva in constiinta unor straini. stefan Augustin Doinas figureaza in sumar cu (probabil) singurul sau poem scris intr-o stare de gratie, Mistretul cu colti de argint. Nichita Stanescu este reprezentat de doua poeme sentimentalabstracte, foarte nichitastanesciene, Luna in camp si Poveste sentimentala
si de un simpatic poem scris in argou, din tinerete, Balada motanului.

Daniel Ionita a stiut ce sa aleaga: poezii nu numai incantatoare, ci si traductibile: „Pe urma ne vedeam din ce in ce mai des. / Eu stateam la o margine-a orei,/ tu – la cealalta,/ ca doua toarte de amfora.” etc. – „Later on we met more often./ I stood on one side of the hour,/ you on the other,/ like two handles of an amphora.” etc. Exact cum speram, din antologie nu lipseste Nicolae Labis. Poemele sale Moartea caprioarei si Dans, scrise cu spectaculosul sau talent, ii vor incanta, n-am nicio indoiala, si pe cititorii de limba engleza. Din Grigore Vieru as fi ales una sau doua dintre emotionantele poezii pe tema mamei; autorul antologiei a preferat Basarabie cu jale, care il prezinta pe Grigore Vieru ca pe un poet vates, ceea ce este justificat. In afara de Nichita Stanescu, generatia '60 mai cuprinde, in antologia lui Daniel Ionita, nume bine alese: Marin Sorescu, Ileana Malancioiu, Cezar Ivanescu, Ana Blandiana, Virgil Mazilescu, Ioan Alexandru si Adrian Paunescu.

Fiind bilingva, antologia ii va interesa, fara indoiala, si pe cititorii romani, ca pe o gala a poeziei romanesti moderne. Va fi, fara indoiala, si contestata (tocmai pentru ca nu se bazeaza pe ratiuni de politica literara), dar cu greu se va putea face abstractie de ea.
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* Prefata la volumul de poezie bilingva „Testament” de Daniel Ionita. Editura Minerva, 2012
 
Alex STEFANESCU
Bucuresti
Noiembrie 2012

***

POETRY PRESENTED AS A GIFT

The time has passed for an anthology to be a desired expression of an impassioned reader (even a professional one) who renders unto others the opportunity to read poems which charmed him or her personally. These days an anthology is put together through the endeavour of some literary critic to present himself before public opinion as a supreme authority; or perhaps through the restlessness of a new generation of poets striving to be noted, after purging without mercy the previous currents and generations.

To a great extent the charm of the collections, compilations and assemblages of the past has been lost. I almost feel like entreating our predecessors, overwhelmed by nostalgia like Eminescu in Epigonii: "You were speaking holy riddles, lofty ideals you would fly;/ We just smear some waves on oceans, and with some stars we blotch the sky".

Daniel Ionita is perhaps one of the last romantics among anthology writers. Established in Australia, in Sydney, and working in a field different to that of a literary professional, he continued to read Romanian poetry, as he did before he left his native country. "The whole story of the translations - explains Daniel Ionita - started in fact in modest fashion. I intended to translate a few poems for my children, my nephews and nieces, and a few other younger friends. The common denominator for all these was the fact that, although they could speak the Romanian language conversationally, they were unable, I
believe, to grasp the rare depth and beauty of its poetry – a unique and pastel varied, artistic voice among the great poetic art of the world."

How refreshing it would be if professional authors of anthologies will display the same candour and good faith in their endeavours! If they would keep in mind, as a hypothetical intended audience of the selected poems, their own children!

The work of translation, which is in a way the work of a literary critic, has shaped Daniel Ionita into developing an esthetical consciousness, I would argue. The most convincing argument for me is that he carried out this anthology of modern Romanian poetry, Testament, which he finalised with an extraordinary effort, but paradoxically with great pleasure. The first thing you notice while going through the index summary of the anthology is the innocent ignoring of the obligations which specialists have, or at least think they have. The author does not intend to illustrate some literary current or other, or to include in this volume poems which might have documentary or critical specialist value. His intentions are those of a butterfly flying from flower to flower: to collect the sweetest and most beautifully scented lyric nectar.

His selection of poems, being unbiased by specialisation, is at the same time drastic. From every poet, the author retains one single poem, rarely two, and in a few exceptional cases, three. The poems are generally selected from among those which are attractive from the first reading. As such, they can be read in a live performance, can easily be put to music, and above all, can be useful in order to convince an English language reader, who has perhaps never heard about Romania, to pick up and read Romanian literature. The texts are organised in chronological order of the birth years of the poets. Vasile Alecsandri, the first on the list, is represented through a well know "pastel", brimming with of a joy easily transmitted to the reader: "From the sky the dreadful winter sifts and empties clouds of snow/ Of those cold and wand’ring snow drifts having gathered long ago/ Snowflakes fly, they float and quiver like white butterflies, so light/ Spreading icy flutters, briskly, turn the country’s shoulders white.../ But at once the snowing ceases, clouds depart, the sunny glow/ Glitters now, caressing gently the white ocean made of snow./ Look outside, for through the valleys a light sleigh is gliding fair/ And the joyful sky is ringing, play-bells chiming through the air." (Winter).

Eminescu follows (it is good that the author did not start with Eminescu, which would have been a conventional and unconvincing way of highlighting his value). Form his poetry, Daniel Ionita selected, with a surefooted artistic instinct, the sonet Gone are the years, and Gloss. The sonet is essentially eminescian, and at the same time presents the summary story of a human life, in which everyone can find a reflection. While Gloss translates its metronome caddece well into the English version: "Time is passing, time comes yet,/ All is old, and all is new;/ What for good or ill is set/ You can ponder and construe;/ Do not hope and do not worry,/ What is wave, will wave away;/ Though enticing with a flurry,/ Cold remain to all they say.”

Almost no important poet is missing. After Vasile Alecsandri and Eminescu, follow Alexandru Macedonski, George Cosbuc, Tudor Arghezi, Octavian Goga, Ion Minulescu, George Bacovia, Vasile Voiculescu, Ion Pillat, Ion Barbu, Lucian Blaga, Radu Gyr, Magda Isanos, Mihu Dragomir, stefan Austin Doinas, Ion Caraion, Irina Mavrodin, Nora Iuga, Mircea Ivanescu, Petre Stoica, Nichita Stanescu, Nicolae labis, Grigore Vieru, Marin Sorescu, Ileana Malancioiu, Cezar Ivanescu, Ana Blandiana, Virgil Mazilescu, Adrian Paunescu, George tarnea, Nicolae Dabija, Leo Butnaru, Leonida Lari, Liliana Ursu, Mircea Dinescu, Daniela Crasnaru, Mircea Cartarescu, Ioan Es. Pop, Lucian Vasilescu, Daniel Banulescu, and a few other lesser known poets. From Tudor Arghezi, the author selected, again in inspired fashion, the title poem Testament, from George Bacovia - December and Lead, from Ion Barbu - King Crypto and the Lapp Enigel, from Lucian Blaga - I do not crush the crown of this world's wonders, and To waste is prone the month of May.

With the little English skill that I posses, I believe that Radu Gyr's famous poem Rise up you Gheorghe, rise up you Ion, could not possibly have the same force in translation, for the simple reason that the typically Romanian names Gheorghe and Ion, used in the vocative as basic elements in the construction of the poem, must be somewhat bereft of their emotional resonance and consciousness, for the foreign reader. ?tefan Augustin Donas is represented with (perhaps) his one and only poem written in a state of grace, The silver fanged boar. Nichita Stanescu is present through two pems of abstract romanticism, very typical for him, Moon in the field and Sentimental story,  and through a poem written in the jargon of his early years, Ballad of the tomcat.

Daniel Ionita is very adept in selecting his poems: not just enchanting, but also quite translatable: - „Later on we met more often./ I stood on one side of the hour,/ you on the other,/ like two handles of an amphora.” etc. As I hoped, the anthology is not missing out on Nicolae Labi?. His poems Death of a dear and Dance, written with spectacular talent, will delight, I am sure, the English readers. From Grigore Vieru I would have selected one or two of his emotionally charged poems on the theme of the mother; the author prefered Bessarabia with sorrow, which represents Vieru as a poeta vates (a visionary poet, a seer poet), which is quite justified. Apart from Nichita Stanescu, the 60ies generation contains in Daniel Ionita's anthology, poets who were, again, well chosen: Marin Sorescu, Ileana Malancioiu, Cezar Ivanescu, Ana Blandiana, Virgil Mazilescu, Ioan Alexandru and Adrian Paunescu.

Being bilingual, the anthology will present interest, without a doubt, for Romanian readers as well, as it displays a pageant of the modern Romanian poetry. It will be critqued and contested, for sure, and this is exactly because it is not considering literary politics as its fundamental rationale), but it will be difficult to ignore.

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