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Depression before the equinox (or: words for the portraits of poets dreamed by Jan Cordua).

The moon rises on a green path then falls like an expensive whore in a helicopter or is crucified on the arms of a windmill. Discreetly, a flute accompanies this scene from the 16th or 20th century. In the black tunnel of the painter's telescope a pink light appears: a portrait of Berryman as a young man embracing the sea, then a portrait of the poet in his iron age on an iron bridge from which he throws himself into the frozen river. In violet light, in insomnia, Randall Jarrell bathed. He put on his blackest coat and entered the blackest night until a black snow clung to his eyes and his soul and he threw himself under the wheels of a speeding car, under the neon sign that says

Vanity, the word he had carved into the oak's bark as a child and which healed, growing as the tree grew, letting itself be swallowed voluptuously by the black bark.

Liliana Ursu was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1949 and was educated in French and English at Bucharest University. She has worked as a recently professor and as a translator and producer for Romanian National Radio and Television. She has published six books of poetry, most recently Corali (Coral) as well as a book of short stories entitled La Jumatatea Drumului (Half of My Way). Her poetry has won prizes from the Romanian Literary Supplement and the Romanian Writers Union. These poems are from her book in progress, Sax in the Mist: Poems from America. Bruce Weigl's most recent book of poems is What Saves Us (TriQuarterly Books, 1992). He is the co-translator of Poems From Captured Documents, a collection of Vietnamese poetry forthcoming this summer from the University of Massachusetts Press. Bruce Weigl directs the MFA program at Penn State.
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Author:Ursu, Liliana; Weigl, Bruce
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Mar 1, 1994
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