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Angel Riding a Beast [Paperback]

Liliana Ursu , Bruce Weigl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 11 1998 Writings from an Unbound Europe
The poems in Angel Riding a Beast are the stunning expression of the Romanian poet Liliana Ursu's years in America. The sadness and paradoxes of exile and the clarity of a cross-cultural awareness become for Ursu the psychological and descriptive framework for poems infused with the emotion and images of erotic longing and spiritual loneliness. The combination of elegy and wit in the poems of Ovid, the poet of exile with whom Ursu claims kinship, is evident in her poetry as well. Always conscious of both her new American freedom and the remorselessness of time and death, Ursu explores the American landscape through "the sad aura of those coming from Eastern Europe / as if from some kind of inferno." She displays remarkable insight into America's often formless and shallow "society of consumers," and yet her newly Americanized vision also allows her to reimagine and reevaluate her life and her country. The alienating repression of recent Romanian history has led Romanian poets, with Ursu as a source of inspiration for their almost violent intensity of language, to resist and penetrate all boundaries and limits, whether political, ideological, or aesthetic. The sympathy of her cultural observations and the physicality of her poetic images and the desires that inform them give Ursu's poems an affecting and universal perspective in which disperate experience and places coalesce in a singular human landscape.

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Review

"Her best [poems] pay tribute to Ovid and Ezra Pound, whose fractured lyricism she often echoes in poems about her native land, upon which her reputation will develop." --Kirkus Reviews


"Ursu seeks to make concrete such abstract concepts as home, exile, love, hope . . . she bridges the gulf between the practical and the theoretical or between what is and what could be."--World Literature Today


"The sympathetic humanity of her cultural observations and the physicality of her poetic images give Ursu's poetry an affecting and universal perspective in which disparate experiences and places coalesce in a singular human landscape." --Translation Review

"Carnivorous and tender, majestic and human" --Tess Gallagher

About the Author

Liliana Ursu was born in 1949 in Bucharest, Romania, and was educated in French and English at Bucharest University. She has published seven books of poetry and two books of short stories. In 1997, her book of poetry The Sky behind the Forest was published in an English translation by Bloodaxe Press. In 1992 and 1997, she was a Fulbright Fellow at Pennsylvania State University. She currently produces a weekly literary program for the Cultural Department of Romanian National Radio.

Bruce Weigl teaches in the writing program at Pennsylvania State University and is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently What Saves Us  (1992) and Sweet Lorain (1996), both published by TriQuarterly Books / Northwestern University Press.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absoloutely glorious poetry July 8 2001
Format:Paperback
This collection of poetry is from the Romanian author's time in American. The introduction gently provides the necessary background to recognize the names of the Romanian poets mixed among Ezra Pound, Sylvia Plath, Ovid ...
The recurrent images in this collection are from Orthodox Christianity, erotic episodes, Romanian landscapes ... While there are glimpses of political/social/religious oppression and the East/West Europe, Old/New World distinctions, the poetry is immediately accessible to an American.
Her distinctiveness is very low key but absolutely perfect lines. In "The Russian Army at Moldova" she explores the crucifixion of a man in 1992, she refers to the normal elements of the Passion, then to contemporary America (satellites, snow) and concludes with the line "I also take note of the high price of nails." It is the absolute concreteness in here-and-now images that make this poetry superb.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absoloutely glorious poetry July 8 2001
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This collection of poetry is from the Romanian author's time in American. The introduction gently provides the necessary background to recognize the names of the Romanian poets mixed among Ezra Pound, Sylvia Plath, Ovid ...
The recurrent images in this collection are from Orthodox Christianity, erotic episodes, Romanian landscapes ... While there are glimpses of political/social/religious oppression and the East/West Europe, Old/New World distinctions, the poetry is immediately accessible to an American.
Her distinctiveness is very low key but absolutely perfect lines. In "The Russian Army at Moldova" she explores the crucifixion of a man in 1992, she refers to the normal elements of the Passion, then to contemporary America (satellites, snow) and concludes with the line "I also take note of the high price of nails." It is the absolute concreteness in here-and-now images that make this poetry superb.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars her images will take you "there" March 24 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
LILIANA URSU
Through Liliana's poetry you start a voyage into a world of emotions and feelings that are real, delicate, powerful and sensuous. As good art will always do, her images will take you "there", will make you feel the joy, the pain, the fear and sensuality of her every word. The longer you stay in her inspired universe, the more you become part of it and by sharing the experience it becomes your own.
Petra Vlah
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