102 pages. September 2012. Paperback.
PAPERBACK: 102 pages; $13.95 (US, CAN); £8.55 UK; €10.14 EUROPE
cover image: An angel, surrounded by animals and the souls rising from their graves, blows the bucium at the Last Judgement. From an exterior fresco at St. George's Church, Voronet Monastery, Romania, c. 1540
"The body is on high when reading Serea."
-- Lisa Marie Basile
Read Excerpts Online:
Angels & Beasts
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.
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 two 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 poetry, she received two Pushcart nominations in 2011.
PRAISE FOR ANGELS & BEASTS
The prose poems in Claudia Serea’s ANGELS & BEASTS 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.
—Howie Good, Ph.D., professor of journalism at SUNY New Paltz, author of Dreaming in Red (Right Hand Pointing, 2012)
Serea’s 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.
—Lisa Marie Basile, MFA, author of Andalucia and A Decent Voodoo, editor of Patasola Press, The Poetry Society of New York
Claudia is heir to horrors, and she whispers her inheritance to children, who run delighted through sunlit fields. Read her poems and become those children.
—Don Zirilli, editor of Now Culture
There 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.
—Jeff McMahon, editor of Contrary Magazine, Lecturer, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, Committee on Creative Writing, The University of Chicago