"So what’s a heart? I’m hungry! I want to live, desire…
Oh, do forgive me maiden, my dearest in the fire!
I doze. How tall the fire! The forest, how replete! I weep. What’s father thinking? I eat and weep. I eat!"
These verses, written some 65 years ago by a 20-year-old, have long entered the consciousness of Romanians, as few other poems have. Only a handful of poems by Eminescu, Arghezi, Nichita Stanescu, Adrian Paunescu, or Radu Gyr would be in this category. Or if we were to cross to the musical field, the Ballad by Ciprian Porumbescu. That is, if you recite these verses – people will immediately tell you both the poem and the author.
Today, in the 13th session of our journey through Romanian poetry in English, we will take a look at Nicolae Labis, who died just after turning 21 years of age – and hear a couple of his most beautiful and significant poems.
Many countries have had their genius poets who died young. Think of the French Rimbaud, the Welsh Dylan Thomas, the Slovenian Strecko Kosovel, the Russian Serghei Essenin, the Austrian Georg Trankl. If we are to mention influences we hear in the lyric of Labis, then perhaps Rimbaud, along with Eminescu and Arghezi – would be the more noticeable. But Labiș has decidedly his own voice, and a grave sense of responsibility – like no one else. Sursa:

Romanian Poetry In English – Episode 13 – Nicolae Labiș

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