After Mihai Eminescu, there are two or three other poets who people (critics included) might consider in “the silver medal” position for Romanian Poetry – so to speak. And in the ninth episode of Romanian Poetry in English, we will talk about, and recite some poems of, one of THEM – Nichita Stănescu. He was the ultimate in what people stereotypically imagine a poet to be: extremely creative, extremely disorganized, naïve, crashing on sofas at friends places – who were more than happy to host him for weeks and even months. Living a somewhat bohemian lifestyle but without any affectation – he was the ultimate ”natural poet” – everything he did was naturally, nothing forced or pretended. He respected people and took them seriously – even to the point of generously associating in print with writers who were well beneath his level. He was friends with everybody, to the point that most people (both those who met him and those who only heard about him or read his poems) still to this day, almost 40 years after his death, simply call him by his first name… Nichita. As Jesus Christ is mostly called Jesus, so Nichita Sănescu is to most people Nichita. Such was the poet and the man. Almost everything he touched was a success. He received numerous prizes in Romania, as well as the respected Gottfried von Herder Poetry Prize offered by the Austrian academy and the Golden Wreath of Struga (in the former Yugoslavia)– some kind of Nobel prize for Poetry.
Nichita Stănescu is “almost certainly the most important Romanian poet of the second half of the XX century.” (Petre Anghel) Big words… and almost certainly… true. Here is a collection of comments from the two most senior contemporary critics Alex Stefanescu and Nicolae Manolescu: He appeared when there was a need, a vacuum, to finally say something new, and he did it brilliantly. His poetry is original, exuberant, brilliant. His poetic voice is the easiest to recognize and the most difficult to mistake. He created a poetic language as free and as delightful as a bird’s flight through the air. “… he does not resemble other poets, rather he resembles the poetic spirit of the twentieth century, through the intense desire to extend the poetical possibilities”. Nichita Stănescu is a virtuoso of the surprise. Almost needless to say, Testament – 400 Years of Romanian Poetry contains 4 of Nichita Stanescu’s poems – he is one of only a handful, from the over 380 poets in this volume, represented with the maximum. I will recite all of them for you – they span most of his poetic palette, from the comical, to the philosophical (for Nichita is able to cross between these two in just HALF a step), and then a couple of romantic ones, for good measure. Sursa:

Romanian Poetry in English – Episode 9 – Nichita Stănescu

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