Romania’s comic genius Marin Sorescu was so popular during the worst of the Ceausescu years that his readings had to be held in football stadiums, and his books sold hundreds of thousands of copies. While his witty, ironic parables were not directly critical of the régime, Romanians used to a culture of double-speak could read other meanings in his playful mockery of the human condition.
All this time, however, he was also writing the ‘secret poems’ he did not dare publish then because – as Dan Zamfirescu commented – ‘the gesture would have been the equivalent of suicide’. Censored Poems is a selection from two books published in Bucharest after 1989, including borderline poems censored by the authorities as well as the riskier secret poems censored by the author.
‘His plain but mercurial idiom is engaging and likeable… He can also be wonderfully funny’ – Douglas Dunn.
‘His reactions to an increasingly absurd political régime were always cleverly balanced: he never engaged in the servile praise of leader and party usually required of Romanian poets, but nor did he venture into dissidence. He was content to let irony do its job…His texts are masterpieces of allusion and adroit manoeuvring… Black humour, a keen feeling for the absurd, genuine delight’ – Virgil Nemoianu, Times Literary Supplement.
'A vigorous, playful imagination… a blackish humour and an epigrammatic lightness of touch’ – Alan Jenkins, Observer.