Excerpt from The Forgiven Submarine by Andrei Codrescu and Ruxandra Cesereanu


Ruxandra Cesereanu has firmly established herself as one of the most important and exciting Romanian writers of today. Born in 1963 in the city of Cluj-Napoca, the traditional cultural center located at the heart of the region of Transylvania, Cesereanu began publishing poetry in literary reviews in 1981, but her first novel, Voyage through the Looking-Glasses, came out only in 1989, the year Romanian communism was overthrown. She has published nine books of poetry, five books of fiction, and significant essays on the Romanian gulag and political torture. She lives and works in Cluj, where she is an editor at the cultural magazine Steaua ("The Star") and Professor at the Faculty of Letters (Department of Comparative Literature) at the Babeº-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. Cesereanu's collections of poetry include Garden of Delights, Live Zone, Fall Over the City (which won the Poetry Prize of the Cluj Writers' Association), Schizoidian Ocean, Crusader-Woman (Black Widow Press), Venice with Violet Veins, Letter of a Courtesan, Kore-Persephone (which also won the Cluj Writers' Association Poetry Prize), and Lunacies. Cesereanu's book The Violent Imaginary of the Romanians is a profound study about the psyche of her imagnative and troubled country. Other prose works include Tricephalos, Nebulon, and Birth of Liquid Desires.

Cesereanu's most recent title, Forgiven Submarine (winner of the 2007 Radio-Cultural Prize in Romania for best poetry book), is a book-length poem written collaboratively with Andrei Codrescu. This is it's first translation into English published by editor Joe Phillips of Black Widow Press, 2009, www.blackwidowpress.com.

Poet Andrei Codrescu is an award-winning writer and National Public Radio commentator. His latest books are The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess (Public Square), Jealous Witness: New Poems (Coffee House Press), and New Orleans Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writing from the City (Algonquin). Codrescu has authored more than two dozen books of poetry, as well as many essay collections, including The Disappearance of the Outside. He is the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University.



Redundancy is nature and technology's All-State insurance, good for everything, except language, where it has come to mean something pejorative, though "repetition" and "reiteration" have kept a positive light; to repeat is lyrical, to reiterate good, but to redound, god forbid.

When I write "I" I never mean me: I mean the "I" that is about to become something other than me, the instrument for beginning the process of carrying itself over into something else, it is meant only as the sound that sets a metaphor in motion, the piece of rebar that holds in place the end the "I" comes from, i.e., the speaker, me. Once the "I" is in place, it is, like its homonym, the eye, a receptor for the agents of transformation and an aid for getting the process rolling. "You," on the other hand, can be a particular "you," but mostly it's unadvisable, because if it's not specific, it just mens "I." Self-absorbed people do have the unortunate habit of addressing themselves in the second person, a habit that is the chief embarassment of mainstream american poetry today.

12/14/08 It's fitting that GWB's reign ends with shoes thrown at him, after he made everybody in the world take off their shoes at the aiport. Remember the shoe bomber. The Pakistan riots over shoes in islamic script. The little red shoes (from blood) we couldn't stop dancing in in Iraq. Spontaneous mass-movement rises to throw farewell shoes at Bush in D.C. as he leaves office. If the shoe fits. Size ten.

"Tirnacopul si Felinarul" a 50s memoir from Sibiu

I think that the Submarine is Jesus: it was born from the union of a man and a woman who didn't have sex. The creature was born of immaculate conception, and it's divine.

Reading B. Berkson on David Ireland (p. 75 "The Sweet Singer of Modernism") it's either delightful or dreadful to note just how fierce the contest/collusion between artists and art writers has been since the dawn of Picasso and Apollinaire. The artists have pursued (rather grimly, after the Dada burst of humor) the illegible, the work inaccessible to coherence, ineligible for any language, really, except poetry. Artists have given writers the opportunity to create language-events in the vicinity of art works that underwrote them (in every sense). To be an art critic in America one has to be a poet (Ashbery, O'Hara, Berkson, Ratcliff), but also a somewhat disingenious salesman who keeps the museum and the philantropic tax-racket going. The poets get the short end of the stick in this deal: they work for journeymen's wages to make artists and art-collectors rich. I think that poets should ask for a bigger percentage of the currency unit (the I.U.) now in circulation.

it's hard to be a major writer in a world full of minor readers

Leon Arega: "Tabloid: a newspaper produced by people who can't write for people who can't read."

There is only one subject: the abyss between theory and practice. Only the abyss is interesting: both theory and practice suck.

Corpse Homepages: what's the rate of expectations?

"This year withold yourself and become more valuable." Laura


God created Jews to sing His praises.

There are no bad Jews, only Jews who sing differently than other Jews.

Is the deliberately-singing Jew different from the body of the unconsciously-singing Jew? And is the atheist and the blasphemer still singing? How? With words. All words are songs of praise to God. What about the mute Jew? The mute Jew sings from his Jewishness because all Jews are praise-singing instruments. The body of the Jew is different from the body of the non-Jew because of this praise-singing function, which is a gene.


Excerpt from the booklength poem The Forgiven Submarine by Ruxandra Cesereanu and Andrei Codrescu. Boston: Black Widow Press, 2009.