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Clay and Star


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Translator: Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), translator of Carmelia Leonte's The Hiss of the Viper (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), and editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern (Trinity University Press 2016). A former Fulbright Scholar, Moscaliuc is associate professor of English at Monmouth University and visiting faculty in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. Poet: Born in Sibiu, Romania, Liliana Ursu has published thirteen books of poetry in Romanian, most recently the selected Loc Ferit/ Haven. Her first book in English, The Sky Behind the Forest (Bloodaxe Books, 1997), translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Tess Gallagher with the poet, was shortlisted for Oxford's Weidenfeld Prize, and Lightwall (Zephyr, 2009), translated by Sean Cotter, was a finalist for the PEN USA 2010 Literary Award in Translation. Ursu, who has been awarded Romania's rank of Knight of Arts and Literature, is also the recipient of two Fulbright grants and taught creative writing at the University of Louisville and at Bucknell University.


This is a daybook for the soul. Each poem offers the calm in which it is possible to believe again we are held from oblivion by a great sustaining, divine tenderness. Liliana Ursu has always been a magical poet. Her talismanic wild strawberries mark our paths like small offerings of prayer where we forage in our seeking not to be abandoned. Reading her poems I felt both sheltered and spiritually empowered. --Tess Gallagher Clay and Star offers a brilliant cross-section of poems across Liliana Ursu's thirteen books, brought into English by skilled translator and poet Mihaela Moscaliuc. Moscaliuc's translations showcase Ursu's incredible lyricism. Ursu's poems 'spark' into being, they "dig words out of silence" with spareness and deceptive simplicity. A poem will appear to be sketching a particular place or a small moment plucked from the everyday, when suddenly a shift will occur--a subtle turn of thought, a leap of image will move its register toward mystery and matters of the spirit. Always--and Moscaliuc's translations capture this beautifully--Ursu is a poet of incandescent language, illuminating the things of this world so we may see our lives adorned. --Shara McCallum, Madwoman In Liliana Ursu's Clay and Star we enter a world of nature infused with myth and magic, where stillness is "the scent of dusking fields," and "poems spill out" of the pocket of a man "stooping under the weight of his blueberry basket;" a place where night is a "key rusting on the floor of the sea," and footprints are "quickly erased by birds." In the masterful hands of poet and translator Mihaela Moscaliuc, these poems infuse the air with prayers where "the ratio between joy and sorrow approaches harmony." --Sholeh Wolpe, Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths

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