Lady Word of Mouth was created as an announcement site--no more and no less--to inform readers about forthcoming and new books (mostly poetry, literary fiction--including fantasy--and nonfiction.) Founded by poet/novelist/writer Marly Youmans, the site currently features writers she knows in the real world and via facebook and other faux-world places. Authors do reply to comments (here, or elsewhere at social media links.)
In this largely
autobiographical collection of 74 short prose poems, the poet presents her life
in three sections. “Angels & Beasts” recalls her early years under the
regime of Nicolae Ceasescu, a world of secret terror in which the child
interweaves reality and malevolent creatures from Romanian folklore. “The
Little Book of Answers” covers the years between the Romanian Revolution (1989)
and Serea’s emigration to America in 1995. Finally, “The Bank Teller’s Name is
Jesus” involves the immigrant’s impressions of her new home, always colored by
the past she carries with her. Serea’s masterful use of brevity, surrealism,
irony, and black humor allow her to express — and the reader to
confront — unspeakable
horrors. She is a survivor, but a survivor with wide-open
eyes, determined to move
forward holding the darkness and light together.
PRAISE FOR ANGELS &
Angels & Beasts manages to
perfectly blend quirky surrealism with expert minimalist craft: her sentences
are woven with a stunning attention to detail, seemingly stitched with the same
blood, fruit and tears that she writes about. When she writes, “The pears were
small red tears we weren’t allowed to eat,” the reader cannot help but to feel
as if she devoured something forbidden. The body is on high when reading Serea.
Marie Basile, MFA, author of Andalucia and
A Decent Voodoo, and editor of
Patasola Press, The Poetry Society of New York
prose poems are as sharp as the shrapnel from a nail bomb. They leave you
shaken and bloodied and awed that anything so small can be so powerful.
Good, Ph.D., professor of journalism at SUNY New Paltz, author of Dreaming in Red (Right Hand Pointing,
is so much to admire in these firecrackers from Claudia Serea: the simple
elegance of her language, the deep mythos of her vision, the sheer architecture
of each narrative, and—most dear to this reader—the startling brilliance of her
endings, which teach us to leap from the ruts of our own expectations and see
our world anew.
McMahon, editor of Contrary Magazine,
Lecturer, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, Committee on Creative
Writing, The University of Chicago
is heir to horrors, and she whispers her inheritance to children, who run
delighted through sunlit fields. Read her poems and become those children.
Zirilli, editor of Now Culture
Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who
immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. She is the author of two other full-length
poetry collections, To Part Is to Die a
Little, Cervená Barva Press, and A
Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky, 8th House Publishing, Canada, and
chapbooks, and her poems and translations have appeared in many journals.
Together with Paul Doru Mugur and Adam J. Sorkin, she co-edited and
co-translated The Vanishing Point That
Whistles, an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Poetry (Talisman
Publishing, 2011). Ms. Serea lives in New Jersey and works in New York for a
major publishing company. A rising star in the world of contemporary surrealist
received two Pushcart nominations in 2011.
Some angels walk among us looking just like regular people. Sometimes they
even play football, like this guy with a sweaty t-shirt. He takes a long drink
of water and looks at me knowingly. When he pulls his shirt overhead, I can see
the scars where the wings fasten. I bet he has them neatly folded in the duffle
bag he carries after the game.
The chicken bones
people could roll over three times and turn into dogs. There were a lot of
stray dogs around. They traveled in packs, following us on the sides of the
road. Mother always threw them some chicken bones, which bought us just enough
time to escape.
There was no escape. Soon, we were the chicken bones
that another family on our street threw at the dogs. They, too, were trying to
buy time to escape but stumbled, fell, and accidentally rolled over three
times, turning into chicken bones that someone else threw at the dogs. That
went on for a while, and is still going on today.
Her back is
turned. The head kerchief covers her
hair as if she should be ashamed she has any. She keeps stirring the pot on the stove, but I know only chicken feet
float in that soup. The dust in the room
is a thousand years old and keeps rising to her ankles, to her knees.
as milk, the stag carries the souls
of dead children. He drinks the tears from their mothers’ eyes and grazes on
thin memory grasses. He stops at the abandoned house to rummage through the
rubble, looking for small clothes. The children’s souls are nestled in silk
swings hooked on the stag’s antlers. He carries them gently over treetops and
roofs, and into the moon.
Gaia’s wings could turn the day into night. Circling
the sky, it followed Grandma everywhere as angels follow people. When time
came, Grandma saw Gaia waiting outside the window. She tried to warn me, but
her voice was garbled. In an instant,
Gaia was inside the room. It swooped down, grabbed
Grandma’s breath and flew off, leaving behind a whirlpool of red petals.
I send you transparent love letters that barn swallows sow in the sky when I miss you.
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
hours on a wire and sing in unison.
hummingflower flies from bird to bird,
sweet songs from their throats.
me later rather than sooner, sings the bone in the stew.
Suck my marrow for a taste of spring grass. By
tomorrow, I’ll hum,
and fire will bring out the choir.
Dip a wooden spoon inside me, answers the
I have the fragrance of roots and of the life of the
lamb. Lift me to your lips,