Centre for Romanian Studies

Centre for Romanian Studies header image 1

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (403). Hector MCDONNELL (b. 1947), Co. ANTRIM, IRELAND: “ Patrick”

October 19th, 2016 · Books, Famous People, History, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

Hector McDONNELL (b. 1947, N. Belfast, Ulster)

 Patrick, cine eşti Tu?

Te căutam prin versuri latineşti,
Bezmetici, prin noianul de neştiri…

Cuvintele- ţi ne scapă printre mâini,
Iar leagănul nu-ţi este nicăieri.
Erai in Mayo, sau in Slemish Hill?
Şi ce uriaşi te-au strâns la pieptul lor?

L-ai strigat pe Dumnezeu,
Ce-a coborât adânc, în trupul tău,
Să-ti dea curaj să-nvingi la drumuri noi.

Care-a fost împăratul
Ce te-a-njosit? Unde-ai plecat?
Te căutăm, dar încă nu te ştim
Străjerii tăi se uită-n vârf de munţi şi-aşteaptă
Pasul tău.

Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN, Londra,

© 2006, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London


*  *  *  *


Hector McDonnell is one of the finest figurative Irish artists of his generation. Best known for his observations of daily life he captures the mundane and ordinary with an extraordinary quality.

Cruce Irlandeza contemporana cu Sf. Patrick

Cruce Irlandeza contemporana cu Sf. Patrick

Born in West Belfast in March 1947, Hector studied at the Munich Art Academy and later moved to Vienna where he spent a year working in a studio of the sculptor and architect Fritz Wotruba (1907-1975). Following the continental experience, about 1967 McDonnell entered Christ Church, Oxford College to study history. On graduating from Oxford, he began to exhibit his paintings regularly in London. Self-confessedly, Hector McDonnell is a loner, a maverick, an unbranded steer. As a completely figurative painter in the early 1970s he was out on a limb. The fashionable contemporary art at that time was abstract, pop or conceptual. His output is prolific. He produces a large quantity of oil paintings, both very large and very small, using dashing thick square brushstrokes, and presumably painted very quickly. His specialty is interiors, usually with a lot of floor in the foreground. These are often pub and cafe interiors, but more particularly shops, especially butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers. He also regularly produces small sets of etchings on the same subject. McDonnell allows himself to be seduced by what he sees: events startle him into perceiving what he calls the ‘magical’ in everyday situations. In his painting each object is imagined with the stout atmospheric density he.

(Biography Note after: The Night Before Larry was Stretched“)



Constantin ROMAN, author of the Romanian version of this poem, is a member of the “Society of Authors”, London



→ No CommentsTags:························

Synopsis of “The Blouse Roumaine – An Anthology of Romanian Women” Selected and introduced by Constantin Roman

October 2nd, 2016 · Books, Communist Prisons, Diaspora, Education, Famous People, History, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Reviews, Science, Translations

Synopsis of “The Blouse Roumaine – An Anthology of Romanian Women” Selected and introduced by Constantin Roman

"Blouse Romaine - The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women"

“Blouse Romaine – The Unsung Voices of Romanian Women”

Marqués de Tamarón

Marqués de Tamarón

A Spanish grandee and Ambassador to the Court of St James’s once compared the success of an Anthology to that of a culinary chef d’oeuvre: for Santiago de Mora-Figueroa y Williams, Marqués de Tamarón, a great Anglophile but also a refined European –

the perfect anthology, like the perfect hors d’oeuvre, should turn us into gluttons. The many small dishes add up to a balanced and nourishing meal, but they are so exquisite that they whet one’s appetite for more. And the anthology should also include unexpected delicacies, things that even the literary gourmet had not heard about.

On a deeper reflection, Tamarón’s metaphor encapsulates perfectly well the ethos of the ‘Blouse Roumaine’. Yet, as an Anthology of Romanian women, this corpus was initially conceived to connect with a French painting of Henri Matisse – the eponymous canvas, ‘La Blouse Roumaine’ (1940), which hangs today in the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris: for every and each biography contained in this Women’s Anthology is like a minutely embroidered stitch on an ethnic tapestry, such as we have admired, not so long ago in the Retrospective exhibition of Matisse’s collection of textiles, presented at the Royal Academy in London and later also shown in New York. For those of us who missed this exhibition the analogy to the current book is like a roll call of women presented in a sequence of biographical cameos. These sketches are displayed like a series of miniatures in a virtual National Portrait Gallery: they are all glittering stars from Western galaxies and Eastern nebulae, in all 160 of them…

The manuscript gestation involved a work of love and dedication, spanning over several years, a creation which gradually came to life very much like in the Marqués de Tamarón’s definition – a ‘menu of diverse and delicious hors d’oeuvres, visually appealing’ but at the same time teasing the imagination and stimulating the taste: for such choice not only offers food for thought as well as for the heart, but also food for academic appetite, extending the frontiers of taste beyond the familiar courses of history, politics, literature, music, film, theatre, feminism or science – for ‘Blouse Roumaine’ is at the same time a trans-disciplinary book.

This subjective if somewhat esoteric compilation of impressionistic essays is preceded by a historical, cultural and political

Constantin ROMAN: "Blouse Roumaine - Anthology of Romanian Women"

Constantin ROMAN: “Blouse Roumaine – Anthology of Romanian Women”

overview of Romanian society. This introductory social fresco sets the tone of the narrative which is perceived through a European looking glass, allowing the reader to consider Romania not in its exotic isolation, but as part of a much broader ‘concert of nations’ and therefore evaluate it within a familiar territory. These will be countries such as France, Spain, Italy or Britain which for the last two hundred years were the playground of Romanian aristocrats (Bibesco, Noailles, Ghika, Brancovan, Cantacuzène) and lately the land of exile of many an uprooted artist and writer (Constantin Brancusi, Eugène Ionesco, Emil Cioran, Vintila Horia, Mircea Eliade, Georges Enesco, Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, Nadia Gray, Elvire Popesco, Hélène Vacaresco).

The Anthology is complemented by texts often published for the first time in English and sourced from over 4,000 French,

Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German references. Six hundred quotations convey the narrative an arcane erudition inviting the reader on a joyful pursuit of an abstruse and little-explored subject. This is virgin territory offering sheer delight.
As we turn the pages of this book we are made witness to an exotic cavalcade of female characters who conjure the scent, colour and voices of time past to the present day, from the sunflower fields of the Danube Plains to the darkest forests of Transylvania, from the languid music of the Carpathian panpipes to the uplifting Parisian literary salons and the stages of La Scala, Covent Garden and the Metropolitan operas, or the prestigious Comédie Française and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Further afield some of these intrepid amazons reached the distant shores of the river De La Plata, or, in the 19th century discovered the sources of the White Nile.

Yet, if such momentous revelations were not surprising enough, ‘Blouse Roumaine’ would also evoke associations with scores of famous glitterati and politicians of European and American dimension… For these women of the Orient Express, disembarking in Milan, Paris, Madrid, London, New York or Buenos Aires, women who inspired poets and composers, who created new opera roles, these muses enthralled political eagles and aristocrats alike, caused crown heads to dream and lesser mortals to lose their heads. Some of these women made their lovers’ suicide respectable, before they retired to the seclusion of their convent to pray for the salvation of their soul, where some of them were suspected of “trying to seduce God”!… Through these enchantresses come to life a choice array of foreign suitors, lovers, admirers, patrons and sometimes husbands: King George V, Alfonso XIII of Spain, Carlos I of Portugal, the Earl of Carnarvon, the Earl of Asquith, Lord Thomson of Cardington, Sacheverell Sitwell, Noel Coward, David Farrar, Paul Morand, Marcel Proust, Pierre Lotti, Anatole France, Puvis de Chavannes, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Twain, Verdi, Puccini, Richard Strauss, Eric Satie and more recently Humphrey Bogart, Lord Lloyd Webber, Roberto Alagna, Michel Foucault, or Jacques Lacan, to name just a few.

But looking at this rich social tapestry, this folk embroidery of multi-coloured and infinite stitches, one is equally absorbed by the darker side of the 20th century history – of women who died in prison for their political beliefs, of Passionarias who, after the Second World War, took the armed struggle to the Carpathian mountains, or simply the faceless yet equally important unknown illustrious peasant women, or middle class housewives, who steeled their obstinate resolve and silent resistance against the leveling steamroller of dictatorship.

Constantin ROMAN

Constantin ROMAN

  Constantin ROMAN evokes these heroines with a melancholy acknowledgment of the brutal destruction of a society and culture. This Romanian society was alive and well and it was so aptly described before WWII by Paul Morand and Marcel Proust, by Marie of Edinburgh and Patrick Leigh Fermor, by Sacheverell Sitwell, Elizabeth and Margot Asquith, by Vineretta Singer de Polignac and Violet Trefusis, Olivia Manning, Panait Istrati or Gregor von Rezzori, Colette, or Virginia Ocampo, by the Princess Hélène Chrissoveloni Soutso, Princess Marthe Bibesco, or Countess Anna de Noailles.

This was the ‘faraway country’ which inspired Dorothy Parker’s classic verse:

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea
And love is a thing that can never go wrong
And I am Marie of Romania.

For some of these women also represent the extravagant if exotic Romanian society evoked in the correspondence of Queen Victoria, Napoleon III, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Don Pedro of Portugal or Ramsey MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, and de Gaulle. In the process we also admire portraits left to posterity by artists of world repute such as Rodin, Ignacio Zuloaga, Whistler, Singer Sargent, de Laszlo, Vuillard, Paul César Helleu, Edmond Lapeyre, Puvis de Chavannes. Many other portraits are also immortalised by the London society photographers Walter Barnett, Alexander Bassano, Van Dyke, Lafayette or Russell Westwood, or brought to life by film directors such as Federico Fellini of  ‘La Dolce Vita’ fame, or more recently by opera stage directors Francesca Zamballo, David Pountney and even and, quite oddly, by a young student of Edinburgh University by the name of Gordon Brown…

There is never a dull moment in this gallery of royals and aristocrats but also of ordinary but exuberant women of talent, who fascinated the British society to the point of venting
its wit in the now classic limerick about King Carol II’s mistress, a diabolically seductive and unrepentant divorcee, who kept the English gossip columnists busy for many long years:

Have you heard of Madame Lupescu
Who came to Romania’s rescue?
It’s a wonderful thing
To be under a King:
Is democracy better I ask you?

At the other end of this social spectrum we discover women inspired by loftier ideals: enrolling as fighter pilots during WWII, or breaking world records at parachute jumping, pioneer solo pilots across the Mediterranean, or international sports champions, opera divas, suffragettes shaking the Parisian bastions of male power in the legal profession, in architecture or international diplomacy… women with guts who inspired so many.

These colourful strong-headed and often beautiful ladies, whether of the exile or home-grown variety, had all, without exception, an amazing story to tell and often a memorable quote to impart. For ‘Blouse Roumaine’ is not only a celebration, it is also a memorial to the past, as the stories unfold before our eyes not just as pickings for the literary gourmet and delicacies for the academic palate, but also as an Orthodox liturgy, a Romanian Epiphany, which brings alive in our mind a nearly-forgotten but fascinating history with unexpected DNA links to the Western European psyche.

The lyrical, witty, and often satirical and uncompromisingly critical narrative of the  ‘Blouse Roumaine’ may appear to some readers if not controversial at least thought-provoking, as it offers forays into some of the recesses of time prior to WWII, reflecting a somewhat politically schizophrenic world of contrasts. To complement this period the reader is offered also a close look into the emotional times of modern communist Nemesis. This is the darker world of the vengeful and remorseless Ana Pauker, Elena Ceausescu and their fawning Court poets which explains the legacy of their system in the post-modern Romania.

The synthesis of such bipolar images conjured in the ‘Blouse Roumaine’ remains, (if we were to quote again our Spanish grandee the Marqués de Tamarón), a memorable witness to:

the joy and pain and privilege of a writer to save the memories and thereby the physical beauty of past glories, a task which he sets about to carry out supremely well and with an immense joie de vivre’.


NOTE: You can purchase the Anthology “Blouse Roumaine – the unsung Voices of Romanian Women” from:


→ No CommentsTags:·················

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (402). Constantine P. CAVAFY (1853-1933), GREECE/EGYPT: “ Ora Nouă…”, “Since Nine …”

September 29th, 2016 · Diaspora, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (402). Constantine P. CAVAFY (1853-1933), GREECE/EGYPT:

Ora Nouă…”, “Since Nine …”,


Constantine P. CAVAFI

Constantine P. CAVAFI

Ora Nouă

Constantine CAVAFY



Nouă şi jumătate. Timpu-a trecut repede
dela ora nouă, de când am aprins lampa

şi m-am aşezat aici. Am stat fără să citesc,
fără să vorbesc. Singur în casă,

cu cine-aşi fi putut vorbi?


Dela ora nouă, de când am aprins lampa,

umbra trupului meu tânăr

a început să mă bântuie, să-mi amitească
de parfumul încăperilor închise,

de plăceri sensuale din trecut – ce plăceri îndrăzneţe!

Şi iarăşi mi-au reamintit

străzile de nerecunoscut,
cluburile de noapte, cândva în vogă, dar acum închise,

teatre şi cafenele demult dispărute.

Umbra corpului chipeş

mai mi-a adus aminte de momentele

triste din familie, despărţiri,

durerile celor apropiaţi, amintirea

celor trecuţi în veşnicie şi atât de puţin pomeniţi.


Douăsprezece şi jumătate. Cât de repede trece timpul!

Douăsprezece şi jumatate. Cât de repede trec anii!


Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN, Londra,
© 2016, Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London


* * * * *

Cavafy Poems

Cavafy Poems


Constantine P. CAVAFY (1863-1933), Greece / Egypt:

SINCE nine…


Half past twelve.  The time has quickly passed
since nine when I first turned up the lamp
and sat down here.  I’ve been sitting without reading,
without speaking.  With whom ought I to speak,
so utterly alone within this house?The apparition of my youthful body,
since nine when I first turned up the lamp,
has come and found me and reminded me
of shuttered perfumed rooms
and of pleasure spent—what wanton pleasure!
And it also brought before my eyes
streets now made unrecognizable by time,
bustling city centres that are no more,
and theaters and coffeehouses that existed long ago.The apparition of my youthful body
came and also brought me cause for pain:
deaths in the family;…separations…;
the feelings of my loved ones, the feelings of
those long dead which I so little valued.Half past twelve.  How the time has passed.
Half past twelve.  How the years have passed.
Translated by Daniel Mendelsohn


Alexandria Cavafy House

Alexandria Cavafy House

→ No CommentsTags:·················

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (401). Mahmoud DARWISH (1941, Palestina – 2008, SUA): “I come from there”, “Vin de pe meleaguri îndepărtate”

July 26th, 2016 · Books, Diaspora, Famous People, PEOPLE, Poetry, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (401). Mahmoud DARWISH (1941, Palestina – 2008, SUA): “I come from there”, “Vin de pe meleaguri îndepărtate”

Mine is the moon .... And the immortal olive tree.

Mine is the moon ….
And the immortal olive tree.


Vin de pe meleaguri îndepărtate

Mahmoud DARWISH (1941, Palestina – 2008, SUA)


Vin de pe meleaguri îndepărtate, dar am memoria vie

Fiind zămislit, aşa cum sunt muritorii, dintr-o mumă

Într-o casă cu multe ferestre,

Având fraţi, prieteni,

Şi o celulă de închisoare cu o fereastră rece.

Valul îmi aparţine, purtat de albatroşi,

Spre un orizont ce este al meu

Cu un fir de iarbă mai mult.

La sfârşitul cuvintelor Luna îmi aparţine

Ca şi stolul de păsări

Şi măslinul nemuritor.

Am cutreierat pământul acesta înainte ca săbiile

Să facă din trupul viu o masă de ospăţ.

Eu sunt născut aici. Dau ofranda cerului, mumei sale.

Şi plâng ca să mă audă

Norul pribeag.

Am învăţat toate cuvintele supuse justiţiei sângelui

Astfel ca să înving legea.

Am învăţat toate cuvintele care le-am tocat mărunt

Ca să fac din ele un singur cuvânt: Patrie….


Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN, Londra,
© 2016, Copyright Constantin ROMAN

* * * * * *

Poems Mahmoud DARWISH

Poems Mahmoud DARWISH


Mahmoud Darwish

(b. 13 March 1941, Palestine – d. 9 August 2008, Houston, Texas, USA)


I Come From There

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…..


* * * * *

Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish

  SHORT BIO NOTE: Poet and author Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: محمود درويش‎‎, 13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was regarded as Palestine’s national poet. In his work, Palestine became a metaphor for the loss of Eden, birth and resurrection, and the anguish of dispossession and exile. He was the man of action through his poetry.




→ No CommentsTags:···················

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (155): Marin SORESCU (1936-1996), ROMANIA – “Passport”

July 9th, 2016 · Books, Diaspora, Education, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Reviews, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (155): Marin SORESCU (1936-1996), ROMANIA – “Passport”

Marin Sorescu - cartoon by Stefan Popa

Marin Sorescu – cartoon by Stefan Popa

Marin SORESCU (1936-1996)
To cross the border
Between the sunflower
And the moonflower
Between the alphabet
Of handwritten events
And printed events.

To be friend of all atoms
Which form the light
To sing with the atoms which sing
To cry
With the atoms which die
To enter into all the days of one’s life
Without restriction
No matter whether they fall on one side or the other
Of the word

This passport
Is written in my bones
On my skull, femur, phalanges and spine
All arranged in a way
To make clear
My right to be man.


Translated from the Romanian by:
Constantin Roman (Peterhouse, Cambridge)


Published in:
Encounter, London, December 1972 –
“Three Poems by Marin Sorescu

Encounter Magazine

SHORT NOTE: Marin Sorescu (19 February 1936, Bulzești, County Dolj – d. 8 December 1996, Buchareșt, Romania) was a poet, playwright, prose writer, essayist and translator. He published more than 60 books, in 20 twenty different countries. After Ceausescu’s demise he was Minister of Culture from 1993 to 1995. Looking in retrospect, it is clear that under Communism Romanian denizen’s visits abroad, even to other Communist countries, were tightly controlled. The idea of being granted travel documents was a surreal transaction, limited exclusively to “ideologically reliable” members of the Politbureau and the higher echelons of the Communist Party members: in such context, Sorescu’s poem had a particular resonance for its defiant message. In retrospect it is amazing that it even got in print, although, by 1968 and the advent of the “Prague Spring”, Romania chose a degree of political independence from the Warsaw Pact countries and in particular from Soviet Russia.

Encounter was a literary magazine, in the United Kingdom, founded in 1953 by poet Stephen Spender (1909-1995) and journalist Irving Kristol (1920-2009). It was a largely an Anglo-American intellectual and cultural journal, originally associated with the anti-Stalinist left and ceased publication in 1991.

Constantin ROMAN, translator of Sorescu’s poems, was a Cambridge Scholar of Peterhouse (1969-1973). Together with Tim Cribb, Ben Knights and a group of students of English Literature, Roman organized an evening of Romanian Poetry in the auditorium of Churchill College Cambridge, an event introduced by professor George Steiner, FBA.


→ No CommentsTags:··························

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CD), Jorge BORGES (1899-1986), ARGENTINA – “Benedict Spinoza”, “Benedict Spinoza”

June 29th, 2016 · Books, Diary, Diaspora, Education, Famous People, International Media, OPINION, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CD), Jorge BORGES (1899-1986), ARGENTINA – “Benedict Spinoza”, “Benedict Spinoza”


Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

Baruch Spinoza

Bruma de oro, el Occidente alumbra
la ventana. El asiduo manuscrito
aguarda, ya cargado de infinito.
Alguien construye a Dios en la penumbra.
Un hombre engendra a Dios. Es un judío
de tristes ojos y de piel cetrina;
lo lleva el tiempo como lleva el río
una hoja en el agua que declina.
No importa. El hechicero insiste y labra
a Dios con geometría delicada;
desde su enfermedad, desde su nada,
sigue erigiendo a Dios con la palabra.
El más pródigo amor le fue otorgado,
el amor que no espera ser amado.
*  *  *  *  *  *


Benedict Spinoza


Când raza de-asfinţit e pe vitralii

Pe manuscris culori se înfiripă

În infinite umbre şi detalii

Iar Domnul Sfânt apare-n Sfânta criptă.

Acum este purtat spre infinit

Într-un pocal născând pe Dumnezeu

E zămislit de Duhul Sfânt… el e Iudeu,

Cu ochii trişti şi corpul său căznit.

Timpul îl duce, ca pe o frunză ce-a pălit

În valul ce îl poartă, tot mereu,

Ne mai putând să se fi-mpotrivit –

Ceopleşte chipul chiar lui Dumnezeu…

Din neputinţă, din nimic, a reuşit

Să modeleze-n lut pe Domnul Sfânt, cu haruri noi –

Atunci când nimeni n-a primit

O dăruire ce nu-aşteaptă înapoi.


Versiune în limba Română de Constantin ROMAN, Londra,
© 2016, Copyright Constantin ROMAN

*  *  *  *  *  *


Borges book cover

NOTE (from the British Encyclopaedia):

Spinoza, Amsterdam

Spinoza, Amsterdam

  Benedict de Spinoza, Hebrew forename Baruch, Latin forename Benedictus, Portuguese Bento de Espinosa (born November 24, 1632, Amsterdam—died February 21, 1677, The Hague) Dutch Jewish philosopher, one of the foremost exponents of 17th-century Rationalism and one of the early and seminal figures of the Enlightenment.Early life and career:

Spinoza’s Portuguese parents were among many Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity but continued to practice Judaism in secret (see Marranos). After being arrested, tortured, and condemned by the inquisition in Portugal, they escaped to Amsterdam, where Spinoza’s father, Michael, became an important merchant and eventually served as one of the directors of the city’s synagogue. Spinoza’s mother, Hannah, died in 1638, shortly before his sixth birthday.The Jewish community in Amsterdam was unique in its time. It originally comprised people who had been raised in Spain, Portugal, France, or Italy as Christians and who had fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and to practice their ancestral religion freely. The community was granted toleration by the Dutch authorities on the condition that it not cause scandal or allow any of its members to become public charges. 

→ No CommentsTags:·····························

BLOUSE ROUMAINE: Daughters of BESSARABIA – Milita PATRASCU (b. 1883, Nisporeni, MOLDOVA – d. 1976, Bucharest, ROMANIA)

June 26th, 2016 · Art Collections, Art Exhibitions, Books, Communist Prisons, Famous People, History, International Media, PEOPLE, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations

BLOUSE ROUMAINE: Daughters of BESSARABIA – Milita PATRASCU (b. 1883, Nisporeni, Bessarabia, RUSSIA – d. 1976, Bucharest, ROMANIA)

Milita Petrascu

Milita Petrascu

Milita Pàtrascu (b. 31 December 1883, Nisporeni, Bessarabia, RUSSIA – d. 1 February 1976, Bucharest, ROMANIA):  Sculptor, pupil of Constantin Brâncusi, graphic artist/illustrator, member of the 1930s-1940s Avantgarde Group Arta Nouà Movement.

Arrested in 1959 by Romania’s Communist regime, but was saved by writer and politician Mihail Sadoveanu and kept instead under house arrest.

Symbol of Latin Roots

Symbol of Latin Roots

  Chisinàu, where she grew up was the capital of the Romanian province of Bessarabia, annexed by the Soviets in 1940-1941 and again in 1944. Following the communist take-over, Bessarabian refugees who sought shelter in the old Kingdom of Romania were subjected to a persistent witch hunt by the Soviet-installed Communist government .

After its Independence, the capital city of the Republic of Moldova, could erect in a public place the Roman she-wolf, symbol of Bessarabia’s Latin identity and at the same time an implicit  rejection of Russian hegemony.

Eileen Lane* on Milita Pàtrascu:

“She was like Snow White, an Irishwoman with the regular features of an ancient beauty, with big enigmatic eyes, dark blue eyes, long lashes, with dark hair styled with a parting ending with a bun at the back and a long neck as white as her face.”

(* Eileen Lane was Brâncusi’s friend whose portrait is in

Eileen Lane & Brancusi

Milita Patrascu & Brancusi in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris



Constantin Brancusi wih Milita Patrascu (photo left)  and the  sculpture Portrait of Eileen Lane  (photo right), Centre Pompidou, Paris



Milita Pàtrascu was born in Bessarabia. In 1919 she began working in Brâncusi’s atelier in Paris. During the 1930s and 1940s she was linked to Avant-Garde artists such as Marcel Iancu, Maxy and Margareta Sterian. Pàtrascu suggested to the Romanian Prime Minister’s wife, Aretia Tàtàrescu (q.v.), that Brâncusi be commissioned to create the celebrated monumental ensemble of Târgu Jiu.

Under Communism Milita Pàtrascu was completely excluded from  monographs on Romanian Art’ ( see Vasile Florea’s Meridiane Publ. Bucharest, 1984), which may be less a critical snub, than a conspiracy of silence based on political criteria. This is hardly surprising if one considers that Milita Pàtrascu was the victim of a political witch hunt resulting in a resounding trial of 1959, in which some of the best known Romanian intellectuals were summarily tried by a communist kangaroo court and given life sentences. Twenty-five years later, Milita was still treated as a pariah on the Romanian art scene, which was entirely government-controlled.

According to Mr. Victor Cràciun, heir, executor and trustee of Milita Pàtrascu’s memorial atelier and collection, the artist was arrested as part of the Bessarabian Group’ (Lotul Basarabenilor), but she was spared the communist prisons due to the intervention of Mihail Sadoveanu. As a result of Sadoveanu’s influence Pàtrascu was given house arrest instead – a lucky escape considering that her co-accused perished in prisons, slave labour camps, or in the atrocious gulags of the Bàràgan steppes.

Gate of the Kiss, Romania

Gate of the Kiss, Romania

Targu Jiu: Constantin Brancusi’s The Gate of the Kiss, a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the First World War commissioned by Aretia Tattarescu wife of Romania’s PM at the instigation of Milita Pàtrascu. Given her crucial role in bringing about Brâncusi’s works at Târgu Jiu, Romania owes Pàtrascu a debt of gratitude far larger than the latter-day ‘experts’ on Brâncusi, who remained silent when the Column of Infinity was marked for demolition during the early years of Romania’s Stalinism.

Ecaterina Teodoroiu monument by Milita Pàtrascu, Târgu Jiu, Romania

Ecaterina Teodoroiu Monument

Milita Pàtrascu as the little-known creator of the monumental mosaic which decorates the famed Mioritza Fountain opposite the Minovici Museum in Bucharest, on the road to the airport. This mosaic was recently restored after many years of neglect.

Milita PATRASCU - Fantana-Miorita

Milita PATRASCU – Fantana-Miorita

In 2001, Milita’s bust of Constantin Brancusi was placed in the Constantin Brancusi memorial Park, Piata Dorobanti, in Bucharest.

Brancusi by Milita-Patrascu - Bucharest

Brancusi by Milita-Patrascu – Bucharest

Romanian Museums displaying Milita Patrascu’s works :

  •   Romanian National Art Museum, Bucharest
  •   Tulcea Art Museum
  •   Liviu and Fanny Rebreanu Memorial Museum, Cotroceni, Bucharest
  •   Zambaccian Museum, Bucharest

Milita Patrascu inter-bellum Romanian group Exhibitions:

1924 – The “Contimporanul Group” Exhibition, Bucharest, with Arp, Klee, Michel Seuphor, Marcel Iancu, Victor Brauner, M. H. Maxy. Monograph Edition in “Revista Contimporanul”

1931? – “Arta Noua”, Group Exhibiton with Margareta Sterian, Marcel Iancu, M.H. Maxy


Book Illustrations:

Janco, Costin, Jacques G., Exercitii Pentru Mîna Dreaptà si Don Quichotte. Cu un portret al autorului si 5 desene de Marcel Iancu, 1 desen de Milita Pàtrascu,

Editura Nationalà, S. Ciornei, Bucharest, 1931


Various works commissioned:

  • Bust of actor Constantin Nottara, (1859-1933), Nottara Memorial House and Museum, Bucharest
  •  Bust of poet George Bacovia, Bacovia memorial House and Museum
  • Busts of Ion Vinea, Mihail Jora, Liviu Rebreanu
  • Bust of George Cosbuc, Cismigiu Gardens, Bucharest
  • Bust of Alexandru Odobescu, Cismigiu Gardens, Bucharest
  • Bust of Constantin Brancusi, The Brancusi Memorial Park, Piata Dorobanti, Bucharest
  • Mosaic on the ‘Mioritza Fountain’, architect Octav Doicescu, 1936, Bucharest
  • Sarcophagus-monument of Ecaterina Teodoroiu, Târgu Jiu, 1935
  • Funeral Monument of Victor Eftimiu, Bellu Orthodox Cemetery, (Fig. 34bis), Bucharest
  • Funeral Monument of Panait Istrati, Bellu Orthodox Cemetery, (Fig. 37), Bucharest
  • Funeral Monument of Misu Fotino, Bellu Orthodox Cemetery, (Fig. 59), Bucharest
  • Funeral Monument of Liviu Rebreanu, Bellu Orthodox Cemetery, (Fig. 8), Bucharest
  • Funeral Monument of Eliad, Bellu Orthodox Cemetery, (Fig. 103/9), Bucharest

Secondary Sources:

Victor Cràciun, Private Communication, October 2003

Georgeta Adam, Private Communication, October 2003

Robert Adam, Private Communication, October 2003

Ioana Vlasiu, Doamnele artelor frumoase românesti, Observatorul Cultural, Bucharest

The Poets’s Corner in Bucharest’s Cismigiu Gardens has two of Milita Pàtrascu’s busts displayed – George Cosbuc and Alexandru Odobescu


The wonderful story of the Endless Columns:


Luna Bucurestilor:


Romanian Modern Art Gallery:


Primaria sectorului 1 nu reuseste de peste un an sa restaureze Fantana Miorita:


fantana Miorita:


Fantana Miorita:



→ No CommentsTags:··················


June 25th, 2016 · Books, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized


pablo neruda


Pablo NERUDA   


Nu te ador ca pe o floare de topaz,

Sau de garoafe roşii care-nfloresc mereu:

Te-ador ca pe o fiinţă diafană, de pripas,

Care-n secret se-ascunde la umbra sufletului meu.


Te-ador ca planta ce nu’nfloreşte niciodată,

Dar ce pastrează-n sine lumina florilor ascunse

Şi prin iubirea ta ce-oferă-n zori nespuse,

Parfumul dulce, ce-a pătruns în pieptul meu.


Te-ador fără să ştiu, nici când, nici unde…

Iubirea-mi e profundă şi fără de zăgaz…

Te-ador fără să ştiu vre-un fel altminteri.


Decât atâta: când, simţindu-mă aproape ,

Cu mâna ta la pieptul meu, şi inima-mi ce bate,

Iar ochii tăi se-nchid de-abea când eu adorm.


Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN, London,
© 2016 Copyright Constantin ROMAN

* * * * * *

Neruda Sonnets

Neruda Sonnets

Soneto XVII



No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

* * * * * *


→ No CommentsTags:················


June 22nd, 2016 · Diary, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, Science


AMOCO EUROPE Exploration Offices in London's Cavendish Square

AMOCO EUROPE Exploration Offices in London’s Cavendish Square


(AMOCO EUROPE, North Sea Exploration)

Author: Constantin ROMAN


To see you go, my heart is wrenched

By lateral strike-slip.

In Southern Comfort will be drenched

My sorrows’ normal dip.

Hope you’ll enjoy old New Orleans,

The hamburgers and the baked beans

And you will miss ou’r fish’n chip,

The lager and the food in tins

(And Roman Constantins…)


(LONDON, 1977)

*  *  *  *  *


GLOSSARY NOTES: The poem alludes to Tectonics geological terms such as: “Wrench faults” (infra: wrenching), Strike-slip faults and Normal-dip faults, used by the author in his seismic evaluation/interpretation in the hydrocarbon exploration of the North Sea.

BACKGROUND NOTE: in the 1970s Amoco Europe’s offices were located in Cavendish Square, near Oxford Circus, Central London.

Ed TRAPP was at the time a Senior Executive in the Exploration Department, who supported this author’s new approach to Seismic Interpretation of the North Sea.

→ No CommentsTags:························

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCCXCVII), ENGLAND – Louis H. P. de BERNIERES (b. 1954, Woolwich) – “And now he’s gone”, “ Veşnicie”

June 21st, 2016 · Books, Famous People, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, quotations, Translations, Uncategorized

POETRY IN TRANSLATION (CCCXCVII), ENGLAND – Louis H. P. de BERNIERES (b. 1954, Woolwich) – “And now he’s gone”, “ Veşnicie”

Louis de Bernieres

Louis de Bernieres


Louis de Bernières


De-abea acum, când el s-a dus, ea ştie cât de bun a fost…

Şi-atunci, răbdarea lui s-a rupt, fiind mult prea istovit,

Prea crunt snopit, ne mai având nici carnea de pe os.


De-abea acum, când el s-a dus, ea a’nţeles c-a fost iubită,

C-un suflet consecvent, dus de ispită…

Alfel ca foşti iubiţi, cu faţa prefăcută.


De-abea acum, când el s-a dus, ea nu-şi mai are nici un rost…

Anii umbriţi, ce-a irosit, rând după rând,

Când nu s-a’nfiripat nimic din visul sfânt ce-a fost.


Dar în final piesa s-a consumat, aşa cum altfel am mai spus,

Însăilând o-adevarată dramă, la căpătâiul lui, plângând,

Convinsă că-l adoră-acum, când sufletu-i s-a dus.


Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN, London,
© 2016 Copyright Constantin ROMAN


* * * * * *


And now he’s gone

Louis de Bernières


And now he’s gone, she thinks how generous he was,

That possibly his patience failed, from being tried too far,

Was battered, wrenched, eroded to the bone.


And now he’s gone, she understands he loved

Her with a steady mind, was not a bird of passage

As so many other, slyly smiling loves.


And now he’s gone, she counts them back,

The slow and blighted years she wasted in his wake,

When nothing came of what she hoped would come.


This scene was foreordained. My friends,

She staged a wondrous drama, weeping by his bed,

And finds she loves him truly now he’s dead.


(From: “Love and Desire”, Harvill Secker, London)

* * * * * *

BERNIÈRES by Nicola Jennings

BERNIÈRES by Nicola Jennings

  SHORT BIO NOTE: Louis H. P. de Bernières-Smart is issued from a Huguenot family; he was born near Woolwich, on the Thames estuary, in 1954 and grew up in Surrey. Trained briefly as an officer at Sandhurst, he obtained a degree in Education from the University of London. Before becoming a full-time writer he held odd jobs, such as mechanic, motorcycle messenger and English teacher in Colombia. He now lives in East Anglia.

De Bernières is an avid amateur musician, playing the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar.. His literary work is replete with references to composers he admires, such as the guitar works of Villa-Lobos and Antonio Lauro in the Latin American trilogy, and the mandolin works of Vivaldi and Hummel in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

→ No CommentsTags:·················