Discover 400 years of Romanian poetry by trying out this amazing book!

Romanian poetry

For the love of poetry, which, transcending culture and language, reveals humanity’s soul.

(Testament: 400 years of Romanian poetry, Daniel Ioniță, Daniel Reynaud, Adriana Paul, Eva Foster, Minerva, Bucharest, 2019, page 5)

I am Romanian and it may be obvious why I personally want to discover Romanian poetry. Of course, because Romania is my own country and I certainly am interested in what it has produced on an artistic and literary level.

However, why would a foreigner possibly want to read Romanian poetry?

Well, to put it shortly, simply because it is really amazing! Naturally, this may not convince anyone. However, even if it is not amazing, I believe that one of the most beautiful things that an avid reader may do is try and discover new literature. You can never know what a huge surprise may be waiting for you to come across! So, what would you have to lose?

Hoping that I made you seek what Romanian poetry is about, I will now tell you about a great book that will help you on this quest. 

It is called Testament: 400 years of Romanian poetry and it is an anthology of poems written in Romanian. The book starts with the very first piece of Romanian poetry and ends with one written by a poet born in 1992.

What is amazing about this book is that it covers a wide period of time in which poetry has been written, managing to be quite an exhaustive volume.

Additionally, the book is a pretty good way to find a lot of valuable information about poets and poetry both for Romanian persons and foreigners (as long as they know English).

I am saying this because the book is bilingual. You can read the original poem, written in Romanian, but you will also easily find the translation in English. Moreover, there is an informative list at the end of the book with short biographies of every poet.

Needles to say, there will be a lot of poems that you may not like, but eventually, you will find some that will suit your tastes too and then you will be able to search for more poems by that author.

Romanian literature is one with a very short history in terms of the first text written in this language, at least compared to other major kinds of literature, such as English, French etc. However, there are some pretty nice texts that I really enjoyed. It is a very useful and fascinating book because it provides you with a wide range of different poems from which you can choose the ones you like most and then read more in other books.

All in all, as the opening quote says, this book is a great way to discover Romanian culture.

After all, the feelings and ideas that the people of this culture have expressed are universal ones. However, they are expressed uniquely, mixing the originality of a particular culture with the universal feelings of the entire humanity.

Oh, death what shaill i repay

green the vine and ivy leaf

that from me you keep away

green the vine and ivy leaf

give you silver, gold to spend

green the vine and ivy leaf

to not shove me in the dirt

green the vine and ivy leaf

(Testament: 400 years of Romanian poetry, Daniel Ioniță, Daniel Reynaud, Adriana Paul, Eva Foster, Minerva, Bucharest, 2019, page 77, a traditional ballad from Maramureș – green the vine and ivy leaf)

Are you interested in poetry? Find some good poetry book recommendations right here!


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