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Pentimento

If you are the only one capable of saving the world, would a hedgehog be your go-to solution? Should you commit seppuku simply because you feel at home everywhere? How much trouble could you be in, if you imagine that most people you meet are your concubines? What if you find out that God occasionally indulges in writing dirty poems? These questions seem absurd. However, before passing judgment, you might discover the surprising poetic resolutions that Daniel Ionita proposes in this volume.

ISBN 9781922332820 (PB, 98pp);
152mm x 229mm
AUD $26 USD $18 CAD $20 NZD $28 GBP £12 EUR €14
ISBN 9781922332837 (eBook) AUD $13 USD $9 CAD $11 NZD $14 GBP £6 EUR €7

 

Reviews

With poems often inventive and always gripping our attention, Daniel Ionita’s Pentimento is a much-travelled collection that ranges over geographies, poets, dictators, titillations, violence, bitterness, love… musings on the eternal… and unexpected detours such as a plot to kill Santa.

– Paul Scully, author, The Fickle Pendulum

Ionita has succeeded – with dexterous flair – in meshing history with the biblical while ribbing authority and human excess through absurdity and surrealism – reminding the reader of Tristan Tzara and the Dadaists… This collection is a significant contribution to Australian poetry.

– James Gering, author, Staying Whole by Falling Apart

[Ionita’s poems] are often enigmatic and paradoxical. But they also have a forthright energy and openness, a flair for drama and a desire to connect as well as to entertain… The imagery may be appealingly whimsical, but this is not simple…instantly clear… poetry. A flexible way of reading is required – preferably with a sense of humour and a willingness to respond intuitively to both the charm and the inherent contrariness…

– Jean Kent, on Daniel Ionita’s Short Bursts of Eternity

Daniel Ionita

Daniel Ionita, born in Bucharest, Romania, teaches Organisational Improvement, part-time, at the University of Technology, Sydney. Over the last ten years, Daniel has dedicated much of his time to poetry. He has had his own work published in his native Romania as well as Australia, which is now home, and the USA.

Daniel’s passion has been sharing poetry through anthologies, bilingually in English and Romanian, as a principal translator and editor of volumes such as Testament – 400 Years of Romanian Poetry, a comprehensive collection of Romanian poetry in English from its origins until today. This volume won the Antoaneta Ralian Prize, most important translation award for representing Romanian literature into a foreign language, awarded by the International Bookfair Gaudeamus, Bucharest, 2019.

Other such anthologies include The Bessarabia of My Soul – a representation in English, of poets from the Republic of Moldova (for which Daniel was awarded the Poetry Prize of the Literature & Art magazine in the Republic of Moldova, 2018) and Return Ticket from Sydney to Bistrita – A Lyrical Carousel between the Antipodes. This work brings together, bilingually, two groups of poets living and creating 17000 kilometres apart: The Judith Beveridge Poetry Class from Sydney, and Conexiuni Literare / Literary Connections Bistrita Poetry Group from Romania.

Daniel is the current president of the Australian-Romanian Academy for Culture.


Links

Daniel on LinkedIn

Daniel on Facebook

More information about his Testament anthology

 

Samples

remembering Radio Yerevan

Radio Yerevan tells us that we can save the world
– you, me and everybody
sitting bare-arsed on a hedgehog:
you either shave the hedgehog before sitting,
substitute someone else’s arse.
or follow a directive of the Party.

So I saved the world. Yes, me.
It wasn’t easy
as humanity dragged us to buggery,
right on the edge of our
festering demise.

I pricked its arse clear of muck,
two minutes before cosmic midnight
with a fat hedgehog.
Imagine that!

This was not salvation sensu stricto.
I am not God.
I don’t love the world THAT much,

just got it out if its bother,
its pressing messiness.
A momentary delay.
No one noticed anything.

Except the hedgehog.

In the morning Radio Yerevan announces
that all remaining hedgehogs – of all things!
must report to the Red Army Choir.

My wife scolds me:
Why do you keep doing this?
Why all this thankless effort?
You’ve tried so many times
and you just screw it up!
You are so naïve
to believe this planet can be saved
by you and a hedgehog!
Leave them the fuck alone.
The world and that poor hedgehog…
He’ll be happier singing in the Red Army Choir
And you only have a tin ear.
Yeah, yeah, I say.
Yeah, yeah, she says.

 

#Metoo for severed bodies

Oh my God, what’s the matter with so many virus experts?
I’d request them to be shortened by the skin of their false teeth.

For the virused, on the highways, were detestably deleted
with the filthy naked figure of their bodies cut beneath.

If my leering eyes would wonder, I could visualise those breasts
for their cadaver looks stunning and doesn’t even bleed.

But the multitudes will question: WTF, am I a pervert?
were the media to examine my opinion or my deed?

Melody, unzip my jodhpurs – ring those bells to circumcision
though I might be sent to prison like delinquents who offend.

I, like them, excrete discreetly, but with uttermost derision,
on “community’s high standards” and the values they pretend.

I seek foolishly a hashtag, the #MeToo for severed bodies…
I find none, and that’s annoying, for I always hear the ref,

or an expert on the matter – any cretin who embodies
some authority – to holler instructions till you are deaf.

 

my letters

I sent you hundreds of letters, all open –
so that they could be read
or so I wished –
by the driver who empties the post-box,
or by the bespectacled woman who does the sorting,
and, who knows…
even by the poor postman
who pushes your correspondence, hurriedly,
through the slit of your letter box.
Maybe one of these days,
when he’s not so busy, when he’s bored,
he might read one of those letters.
Then he might not rush home, fight with his cheating partner,
cook some dinner, drink a beer, and watch Netflix.
Maybe he would gaze, for a moment,
towards your window, imagining who might live there.
But perhaps he might just lose concentration, crash his
yellow scooter over the barrier at the end of your street
and end up in hospital. Or dead.

 

Mona Lisa

Just give me your hand, Mona Lisa, and flee,
leave mouldy museums to quibble and moan –
the world waits outside, made of flesh and of bone,
with rain and with sunshine, with mountains and sea.

For hundreds of years you have hung on this wall,
in hope Leonardo will somehow appear –
while loafers and fools gave you praises or smear
and packed like sardines, they remained in your thrall.

Your gaze speaks a playful or insolent tale –
as thousands of critics are wont to explain –
but what matter words, be they wise or mundane,
when up on this wall hangs your heart, by a nail?

I’ll wait till the evening at the pub down the lane
that is crowded with people made of flesh and of bone,
leave stuffy old Louvres to quibble and moan
and we’ll dance in the sunshine and run in the rain.