Featured Poet in ”World Literature Today”


The November issue of World Literature Today, the prestigious American literary magazine dedicated to contemporay world literature, highlights Central European literature on the twenty-fifth anniversiary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A fragment of what I consider to be one of my best poems, „Wall and Neutrino,” translated by Carla Baricz, is included in this special anthology, After the Wall Fell: Dispatches from Central Europe (1989–2014), aimed at popularizing post-Wende Central European literature.


The assistant director and editor in chief of World Literature Today, the writer Daniel Simon, who was the coordinator of this elegant and incisive issue focusing on Central European writing, suggested that I illustrate my text with a painting from my Archetypal Expressionism Series, ‘’Text and Time 81,’’ oil on canvas, 50×70 cm, 2011.


Text and Time 81

Text and Time 81

World Literature Today, the University of Oklahoma’s bimonthly magazine of international literature and culture currently celebrating the 88th year of continuous publication, is one of the best and the most influential literary/cultural magazine in the field of global literature, renown not only for its remarkable efforts to ‘’scan’’ today’s global literature but also for its prestigious Neustadt International Prize, the so-called ‘American Nobel.’

The poem published by World Literature Today belongs to my future book of selected poems in English, Wall and Neutrino. The Poet in New York. This book in progress features a forward by the well-known Italian writer Manrico Murzi, the former disciple and university assistant of the famous poet Giuseppe Ungaretti (the first winner of the Neustadt International Prize, in 1970). Murzi is a member of the editorial board of the prestigious Italian publisher Bompiani (Milano), a member of the Committee of Writers of the European Union, and an UNESCO Ambassador of Culture. I hope that I will be able to place this collection of selected poems with a good publishing house in United States or in Great Britain.

My translator, Carla Baricz, is a doctoral student in the English Department at Yale University. She is also a translator from the Romanian and is the assistant editor and translator of the Trinity University Press anthology Romanian Writers on Writing. She has recent work in Romanian Writing (August, 2013), Alpha: Revistă de Cultură (2014), Observator Cultural (February, 2014) and in Magyar Lettre Internationale. She has reviewed for the LA Review of Books and Words Without Borders: Literature in Translation.

Daniel Simon

Daniel Simon

“Strangely seeming to count us…”

strangely seeming to count us
the leaves fall
the houses are shaped
like a brash thought
in no one no one remains
sometimes the poor hear the void in things
the hands of the blind no longer matter
their agility of pure
bars caressing a word
which thinks us
with the nostalgia of the gods
too soon do we sink
into the landscape of sleep and iron
with fingers deafened
by the cranial cutting edge of computers
into a solitude of liquid helium
and pulverized heart
into the vacuous mouth of objects
only the word can still save us
the word that grinds its own shape
with the intensity of a star
breathing in its own catastrophe
the word through which can be seen
the violet ribs of children
successive workers
with darkened complexions resembling
statistical figures
the bandage of the wares
masking the rotting
we live approximately
with an eye dissected
by speed
astounded we do not notice
how the hunting dogs return
their little Sumerian tablets about their necks
who are you coming out of the net of time
touching with a sprig of myrtle
our space
ah sleep raises cities
on paralytic claws
their music drifts from the future
though the cybernetic bells snow
a deaf blueness

English version by Carla Baricz


About Constantin Severin

Constantin Severin (constantinseverin.ro) is a Romanian writer and, as a visual artist, the founder and promoter of the award-winning concept known as archetypal expressionism. He is the author of eight books of poetry, essays, and novels, and his poems have been published by major Romanian and international literary magazines. He is one of the editors of the French cultural magazine Levure littéraire.
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