Friday, January 11, 2013

Angels&Beasts poems by Claudia Serea

Phoenicia Publishing
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Copyright © 2012 by Claudia Serea
85 pages, hardbound, no price give

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

There is always something about Eastern European poets that has found its way to my often offbeat sensibilities. Claudia Serea, who left Romania for the United States in 1995 is another poet who I can add to my collection of surrealist Eastern Europeans who fit into this mold of exciting creative poetics.

Now living in New Jersey and working in New York, Ms. Serea’s first poetry books, To Part Is to Die a Little, was published by Gloria Mindock’s Cervena Barva Press.

This particular volume, Angels&Beasts is one of prose poems. Of the volumes of prose poetry which I have come across most have poems that read more like flash fiction, maybe even short stories. However, Ms. Serea’s poetry ( many without titles – unless the bold print at the beginning of the poems is the title) is short and to the point. The longest I read was eleven lines. Yet despite their brevity they make their point, like an arrow shot into the reader. (And one particular poem answers my childhood question of why, as I am riding down a highway I see hundreds of birds sitting on telephone wires):

Page 30:

I send you transparent love letters that barn swallows sow in the sky
when I miss you. The swallows are great mail carriers: they fly fast
and low, preserving the letters’ sentiments. Sometimes their job
makes them late for school, and they get punished: they have to sit
for hours on a wire and sing in unison.

Or perhaps you have wondered about what happens to balloons the little boy or girl at a parade let loose. Perhaps the poem on Page 23 will give you some idea:

The red balloon reports the blue one for its inflated ego. The blue balloon
bursts into tears. The yellow one doesn’t feel so well, and the white one has a
blank stare as my brother ties them all to his backpack.
When the clouds look the other way, the wind steals the balloons and
ties them to the tallest tree branch. from there, the balloons can see the sunset
and the planes in the sky’s belly.
At night, they float with the moon.

If you have ever been to Times Square you may recognize the characters Ms. Serea has met in the poem on Page 66:

42nd Street Times Square

The man in a top hat blows into a noisemaker. His shadow wakes
up startled and bites his leg. Boy, are my arms tired of flying, mutters
a suitcase a girls pulls through the crowd. The preacher rolls his eyes
and yells Repent! Repent! For God is a consuming fire—and I would,
but my train has arrived.

Everything about her poetry is offbeat: askew here, off kilter there, perhaps backwards or upside down. It is how you choose to read it, it is your interpretation of what she says. Unlike some poets, she does not make her life ours because she is different, which of course makes me wonder what she is like at home, in the office, with friends or lovers or with children. This is quite enjoyable for me and it might be for you as well.

Zvi A. Sesling
Reviewer for Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene
Author, King of the Jungle and Across Stones of Bad Dreams
Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8

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