In an era of intense cultural politics, his aesthetics made him a leader
reviewed everywhere, required in high-school curricula, and recited on
stage and television by leading actors of his day.
Besides poetry, the writer also produced essays, prose poetry, and translations. The poet also edited and contributed to Gazeta Literarŭ, Româia Literarŭ, and Luceafŭrul.
The Still Unborn About the Dead: Selected Poems (trans. by Petru Popescu and Peter Jay) (London: Anvil Press Poetry, 1975); Unfinished Work (trans. by Stavros Deligiorgis) (Bucureşti: Cartea Românească, 1979); (Bas-relief with Heroes: Selected Poems, 1960-1982 (trans. by Thomas C. Carlson and Vasile Poenaru) (Memphis: Memphis State University Press, 1988); Wheel with a Single Spoke and Other Poems (trans. by Sean Cotter) (Brooklyn: Archipelago Books, 2012)
but who knows when.
Only grass knows how earth tastes.
Only my blood truly longs
for my heart, as it moves on.
Tall is air, tall is you,
tall is my sadness.
A time will come when horses die.
A time will come when cars rust.
A time will come when rain is cold
And every woman has your head on
and wears your dresses.
A bird will come, large, white,
And lay the egg of the moon.
—Translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter
They neigh blood and run
down the street, like red tables fleeing
the Last Supper.
Leaves stick to their throats
or fall straight through,
like the shadow of a tree falls down a well.
bring helmets left over from the war,
bring whoever has one eye missing,
or an empty spot for an arm
where he can be topped off.
and I, the first to see
may inform you that I drank some
and it was very, very good…
I may be forgotten, because
I don’t care for my arms. I may lose them.
I may be abandoned, because
I don’t love my legs. I can walk
just as well with air.
I may be left alone, because
my blood will pour into the sea
in any case.
There’s room. My ribs have all risen
like sea walls.
There’s enough light. My eyes
see only one mask.
But it does not yet exist,
so there’s room, there’s room, there is.