Traian T Cosovei, translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Andreea Iulia Scridon.

Traian T. Coșovei (1954 – 2014) was a Romanian poet of the ‘80s Generation and a founding member of the ‘Cenaclul de Luni’ literary circle, a group that would eventually set the tone for much of postmodern Romanian poetry. 

He was the recipient of a series of prizes, including the Prize of the Romanian Academy and the International Nichita Stănescu Prize. Coșovei published over twenty books of poetry, literary criticism, and prose.

Greva căpșunelor 

Aseară ți-am golit sertarele de amintiri.

Îți luasem cercei și alte acareturi:

șoapte strecurate în ureche,

îmbrățișări de mucava…

pianul din salon 

la care îmi cântai 

noapte de noapte,

mătăsurile tale care foșneau roz 

ca și mărturisirile tale,

candelabrul greu de cristal, 

care arunca lumini ireale 

pe umerii tăi,

buzele tale, care îmi șopteau 

că se pregătește 

al treilea război mondial,

liliacul din grădina ta, 

amintindu-mi 

de vremuri mai bune

și pisicile tale smălțuite 

cu promisiuni…

Diminețile somnoroase, 

plicul alb al trupului tău în lumină…

parfumul acela… atârnat de gâtul tău 

ca un bandaj de neliniște.

brățările tale, eșarfele tale, spaimele tale…

Într-o dimineață de toamnă a venit și greva căpșunilor!

Translation

The strawberry strike

Last night I emptied your drawer of memories. 

I took out your earrings and other nonsense: 

whispers slipped into ears,

pasteboard embraces…  

the salon piano

which you played for me

night after night,

your silks, which swished pink  

just like your confessions

the heavy crystal chandelier

that cast ethereal light

on your shoulders,

your lips that whispered to me

that the third World War was imminent,

the lilac bush in your garden, 

reminding me 

of better times

and your cats enameled 

with promises…

Sleepy mornings,

the white envelope of your body in the light…

that perfume…dangled from your neck

like a bandage of disquiet.

your bracelets, your silk scarves, your fears…

And one autumn morning the strawberry strike began! 

The Translators

Andreea Iulia Scridon is a Romanian-American poet and translator. She studied Comparative Literature at King’s College London and is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. She is editor at Asymptote Journal, E Ratio Poetry Journal, and The Oxford Review of Books.

Adam J. Sorkin has published 60 books of Romanian poetry in English translation and won the Poetry Society (UK), Kenneth Rexroth, Ioan Flora, and Poesis Translation Prizes, among others. Most recently Sorkin published The Barbarians’ Return by Mircea Dinescu (translated with Lidia Vianu, Bloodaxe). His versions of Emilian Galaicu-Păun won 2nd prize in the 2018 John Dryden Translation Competition.

About the contributor

Andreea Iulia Scridon and Adam J. Sorkin bring us a translation of Greva căpșunelor by Romanian poet Traian T. Coșovei

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