Angel Riding a Beast

Overview

The poems in Angel Riding a Beast are the stunning expression of the Romanian poet Liliana Ursu's years in America. The sadness and paradoxes of exile and the clarity of a cross-cultural awareness become for Ursu the pyschological and descriptive framework for poems infused with the emotion and images of erotic longing and spiritual loneliness. The combination of elegy and wit in the poems of Ovid, the poet of exile with whom Ursu claims kinship, are evident in her poetry as well. Always conscious of both her new...
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Overview

The poems in Angel Riding a Beast are the stunning expression of the Romanian poet Liliana Ursu's years in America. The sadness and paradoxes of exile and the clarity of a cross-cultural awareness become for Ursu the pyschological and descriptive framework for poems infused with the emotion and images of erotic longing and spiritual loneliness. The combination of elegy and wit in the poems of Ovid, the poet of exile with whom Ursu claims kinship, are evident in her poetry as well. Always conscious of both her new American freedom and the remorselessness of time and death, Ursu explores the American landscape through "the sad aura of those coming from Eastern Europe / as if from some kind of inferno". She displays remarkable insight into America's often formless and shallow "society of consumers", and yet her newly Americanized vision also allows her to reimagine and reevaluate her life and her country. The alienating repression of recent Romanian history has led Romanian poets, with Ursu as a source of inspiration for their almost violent intensity of language, to resist and penetrate all boundaries and limits, whether political, ideological, or aesthetic. The sympathetic humanity of her cultural observations and the physicality of her poetic images and the desires that inform them give Ursu's poems an affecting and universal perspective in which disparate experience and places coalesce in a singular human landscape.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Her best [poems] pay tribute to Ovid and Ezra Pound, whose fractured lyricism she often echoes in poems about her native land, upon which her reputation will develop." --Kirkus Reviews

"Ursu seeks to make concrete such abstract concepts as home, exile, love, hope . . . she bridges the gulf between the practical and the theoretical or between what is and what could be."--World Literature Today

"The sympathetic humanity of her cultural observations and the physicality of her poetic images give Ursu's poetry an affecting and universal perspective in which disparate experiences and places coalesce in a singular human landscape." --Translation Review

"Carnivorous and tender, majestic and human" --Tess Gallagher

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810116597
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 11/11/1998
  • Series: Writings from an Unbound Europe
  • Pages: 75
  • Product dimensions: 4.66 (w) x 7.92 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Liliana Ursu was born in 1949 in Bucharest, Romania, and was educated in French and English at Bucharest University. She has published seven books of poetry and two books of short stories. In 1997, her book of poetry The Sky behind the Forest was published in an English translation by Bloodaxe Press. In 1992 and 1997, she was a Fulbright Fellow at Pennsylvania State University. She currently produces a weekly literary program for the Cultural Department of Romanian National Radio.

Bruce Weigl teaches in the writing program at Pennsylvania State University and is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently What Saves Us  (1992) and Sweet Lorain (1996), both published by TriQuarterly Books / Northwestern University Press.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments

Introduction

I. American Night
In Bad Magic
The Purification of Space for Dorothy
The Russian Army at Moldova
Longing
The Coffee Tree
American Night
The Intersection
Way of the Stars
Hierophany
If I Lift My Eyes
Playing with the Mirror
The Sorrows of the Young Werther
Heart Washed Like a Brain, Europe for Sale
September Green
Society of Consumers

II. The Key to Mystery
The Key to Mystery
What My Eyes Say
Mathematics
Portrait and Renaissance Dance
My Body
Depression before the Equinox (or Words for the Portraits of Poets Dreamed by Jan Cordua)
Prelude
Window Cut into White Pine
Marina Tsvetaeva
I Was Picking Violets When I Heard a Howl
The Town of Pisa
Above Us
Theory
What I Hear
Ruins at the Monastery of Cirtisoara

III. Memories from the Arc of the Mountains
Memories from the Arc of the Mountains
About Sacrifice
Computer Disk Containing One Thousand and One Variations on Silence
Pilgrim
The Monk
Cismigiu Park
The Small Truths
Through a Town Lost in the Balkans
February at Sea
The Beginning of March
Prayer for Brother Alexander
Temptation of the Abyss (or Letter from the City of Vikings)
Rehearsing for Spring
February Night Eating Blackberries
Sitting on the River's Bank Not Knowing Which Side You're On
St. Anthony
At the Top of the Mountain
The Mistaken Road

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