translated by Claudia Serea
Populating Adina Dabija's singular mythopoetic realm are sexy miners with boobs as big as their salaries, cherries sweetened by lovers' ears, men strewn on a string across a kitchen, and a dress made of the sound of breaking surf. All of us, together, are " the torrent that bursts open into rain and clouds." Her imagination ranges freely, not just from subject to subject but from form to form: her prose poem series, "The Barbie Poem," reads like the best of Russell Edson, or Kafka's parables and dream stories. Like Rilke, she has in her soul both terror and beauty, and I believe her when she says that she has "experienced a fear so beautiful / I can write a book about it." This is that book.
About the Author
Adina Dabija was born in Aiud, Romania. A poet and playwright, she now lives in New York, where she practices oriental medicine. Her first book, poezia-papusa, was awarded the Bucharest Writers’ Association Guild Prize. Her second book, Stare nediferentiata, won the Tomis Award. Beautybeast is her first collection of poetry appearing in English.
Selected Poem: The voice from the pantry
Come on, dare to open the pantry door. Here you can find everything you want, and more. Inside the jars, the seasons pass softly: ripe cherries, sweetened by the lovers’ ears; rose petals that dripped the spring into ever-happy sherbets; even the winter sifted through sugared orange peel that napped too long in the afternoons under the Christmas tree. Fall, brought home by your father in his brown briefcase, ripens on the top shelf: a row of quinces he received from someone named Gica. The far-away memories are caught in spider webs behind the jars with pickles. Old Man Todor and Auntie Lena passed through here and never returned. Because I, The Big Crossing, hide here behind the jars, my muzzle dirtied by preserves, craving zacusca and tearing at the cellophanes. Come on, don’t be scared, crack open the pantry’s door just a little… One day, you too will pass through here… And then you’ll see the light inside the darkness. Auntie Lena and Old Man Todor both saw it, and you will see it, too, one day… because the fruits inside the jars are pregnant with sun and they always give birth to light. Time is uncertain here, and if you press your ear against the jars, you can still hear the wind through the branches, rocking the fruits to ripen in the evenings with full moon. You can even see the day when your mother saw an ant climbing slowly-slowly on your grandmother’s leg. The pantry is where the sun sets and rises, where the roosters sing morning and midnight at the same time, and your mother’s wrinkles become maps for your teen years. If you open the pantry’s door, be sure to wear your sunglasses. There is so much light inside.