Ana Blandiana, (b. 1942 Timisoara), is an almost legendary figure who, in Romanian culture, holds a position comparable to that of Anna Akhmatova in Russian literature and Vaclav Havel in the Czech. She has published fifteen books of poetry, two volumes of short stories, seven books of essays, and one novel. Her work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. In 1990, she was co-founder and President of the Civic Alliance, an independent organisation that fought for civil rights and brought democratic change. She also re-founded and became President of the Romanian PEN Club, and in 1993, under the aegis of the European Community, she created the Memorial for the Victims of Communism. In recognition of her contribution to European culture and her valiant fight for human rights, Blandiana was awarded the highest distinction of the French Republic, the Légion d’Honneur (2009). The US State Department distinguished her with the Romanian Women of Courage Award (2014). She is the recipient of three doctor honoris causa and numerous international literary awards, the most recent being the European Poet of Freedom Prize (2016), which she received in Gdansk, the Polish city of freedom and birthplace of Solidarnosc, for her book of poems My Native Land A4.

The two poems presented here belong to The Sun of Hereafter (2000) & Ebb of the Senses (2004) published by Bloodaxe this year. The books marked a turning point in her career and paved the way towards her idea of poetry as the only homeland of the exiled poet, best illustrated in My Native Land A4 (2010). Blandiana shares Pound’s interest in the metaphysics of light, the neo-Platonic belief that existence is rooted in mystery.  In his old age Pound realized that “The gods have not returned: ‘They have never left us.’/ They have not returned” (113/ 807) – Blandiana’s poetic universe shares this sense of a world inhabited by gods and predicated on a cyclical conception of time.

Find the book here.