Monday, September 10, 2018

On Writing #155 : George Bowering

Poly Oana craquer
George Bowering

            Each morning the first thing I do is to read some poetry before going downstairs to the daily paper’s prose. A lot of the books I have tried lately do not disresemble the latter enough. But the work (and play) of Oana Avasilichioaei has raised my hope for the future of our art. We do not really need poems that tell us what the poet saw and how he can make figurative language to give us his view of those things. We do not really need language that is passed over the counter by its baker. Ms Ovasilichioaei is environed by language as she is by any world she enters, and when you read you don’t read her version––you are too busy negotiating the pleasant difficulty of her pages. If you run into one another from time? Well, what a nice thing to experience first thing in the morning. This poet offers no Frostian conclusions, but possibilities leading in all directions. Judith FitzGerald was right when she wrote that you can’t really read the poems, but you can sure experience them––and if you do not want poetry to lull you, you will want that experience.
            Oana Avasilichioaei’s name is usually preceded or followed by the words poet, translator, editor, collaborator––and you always feel as if all those people are with you while you are experiencing her text. That text can make your eyes jump, maybe into the future. That translator makes you realize that your role is not to consume an English-language text that has replaced a French or Romanian original, but to engage happily with the difficulties of both languages. The poet is not here to enclose but to compose, i.e. to put something beside something. I think that she will continue the work of poets such as Fred Wah and Erin Mouré, to waken our ears and imaginations that have been stuffed up with the ordinary.

George Bowering’s 2018 books: Some End from New Star (poems); No One from ECW (fiction); plus in Nov., my biography by Rebecca Wigod, from Talonbooks.       

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