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.






                          Soarele de apoi (2000)


Vino, tras de delfini,

Cu cithera în mâini,

Printre valuri mereu călătoare

Venind să contemple

Zeul unor altare

Cu statui şi stăpâni

Şi cu oase, uscate la soare, de temple.

Vino lin, lunecând printre morţii de piatră

Ferecaţi în muzee, fără milă-admiraţi,

Pe când greul pământului de sub marmure latră

Hexametrii uitaţi.

Vino, Doamne, să vezi poezia săracă

Şi poeţii căzuţi sub istorie blestem,

Vino, gol şi frumos, şi de ţi-e frig, îmbracă

Haina strâmtă-a acestui poem.



                      From The Sun of Hereafter (2000)


Return, drawn by dolphins to this strand,

Cradling the cither in your hands,

Lapped by the ever-moving waves that come

To contemplate the god

Of these altars

With statues and masters

And with bones of temples, burnt by the sun.

Come softly. Steal in among the stony dead

Entrapped in museums, and admired without piety,

While the earth’s weight barks out symmetries

Of meters forgotten, beneath these marble heads.

O Lord, come witness the poetry impoverished

And poets fallen under history’s implacable curse.

Beautiful and naked, come. And should you shiver

With the cold, take on the narrow clothing of this verse.


Refluxul sensurilor (2004)


M-am gândit la ea relativ des

Şi la vârste diferite,

Fără spaimă, fără mândrie,

Fără ruşine,

Nici eroism, nici păcat.

Apropiere bruscă

De o lumină

Atât de greu de definit

Pentru că singură există

Fără început şi fără sfârşit.

Şi totul se naşte din ea,

Pentru că numai ea, cea eternă,

Ştie să păstreze eterna sămânţă


Întinzându-mă de bună voie

În pământ.



               From Ebb of the Senses (2004)


I have pondered it a lot,

And at different ages,

Without any fear, without any pride,

Without any shame

Or bravery or sin.

The sudden approach

Of a light

That is so hard to define

Because it exists alone

With no beginning or end.

And everything is born of it,

Because it only, the eternal,

Is able to preserve the eternal seed

By sowing me,

Scattering me freely

Over the earth.



Translated by Paul Scott Derrick and Viorica Patea