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Volume 33.2
Summer 2002

book review

Soaptele nucului batrân: poeme într-un vers
The Whispers of the Old Walnut Tree: Romanian Liner

by Stefan Gh. Theodoru

 

reviewed by Charles Trumbull

Soaptele nucului batrân: poeme într-un vers / The Whispers of the Old Walnut Tree: Romanian Liner, by Stefan Gh. Theodoru (Bucharest, Romania: Editura Amurg Sentimental, 2001). 150 pages, paper, perfectbound, 5 x 7 I. ISBN 973-8253-35-7. No price given; inquire of the author at Stefan Gh. Theodoru, 28-18 29th St, Long Island City NY 11102.

The prolific Romanian-born, Long-Island-dwelling poet Stefan Gheorgiu Theodoru has produced a bilingual collection of one-liners (which he persists, annoyingly, in calling "liners") in tribute to his countryman Ion Pillat (1891–1945), one of the forerunners of the Romanian haiku movement. Pillat, among his other literary experiments, wrote 116 single-line haiku-like verses the he published first in his 1935 book Poemele într-un vers ("One-line Poems"), a title that serves as Theodoru’s subtitle. The form, as Theodoru explains it, is fixed: a title plus a verse that is divided into parts of seven and six syllables. Occasionally the three elements of Theodoru’s verses can work together as they would in a haiku:

The Blind Man
Hand in hand with a child to show him the grove.

More often, however, the title sets up a lyrical metaphor:

Baby’s Breath
The stars of heaven sprinkled in the garden.

or becomes an aphorism or a witty epigram in the manner of J.V. Cunningham or A.A. Ammons:

The Wise Man
He finally realized that he knows nothing.

 

 

 

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