My Tired Father: Pohem

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Green Integer, 1999 - Poetry - 74 pages
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First published in Romania in 1972, My Tired Father is an autobiographical collage, an assisted cut-up. In words and diction lifted from old books and popular magazines, Naum demonstrates that desire is a constructive principle - and that the spirit of Surrealism is not reducible to a period style or rhetoric.
Born in Bucharest in 1915, Gellu Naum was a central figure in Romanian Surrealism before the Second World War. Closely linked with the painter Victor Brauner, Naum collaborated with Jacques Herold, Gherasim Luca, Paul Paun, Dolfi Trost, Virgil Teodorescu, and Perahim, among others, in pursuing the Surrealist adventure in Paris and Bucharest. At the beginning of the war, Naum settled in Romania, where he was instrumental in organizing clandestine Surrealist activities in difficult personal circumstances under the fascist regime. At war's end, the Romanian Surrealist group emerged and flourished briefly before its suppression by Stalinist authorities; Naum published several books of poems in this period, including the first book of poetry published in Romania after the war, The Corridor of Power. In 1947 Naum's The White of the Bone was rejected by the censors, and for the next twenty years he was permitted to publish only children's books and translations. In recent years many new books have appeared, including Zenobia in 1985.

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About the author (1999)

Gellu Naum (1915-2001) started as an orthodox Surrealist, together with Andre Breton and Victor Brauner in the Paris of the 1930s, where he pursued a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne. After returning to Romania in the early 1940s, he embarked on a solitary and prolific career, riskily immune to the political agenda of the Communist regime. He reshaped surrealism by means of a mode-of-existence poetics that absorbed (often jocosely) erudite eastern and western references along with popular culture and the quotidian, thus managing to fuse a wide range of styles and dictions into a unique discourse, shamanistic and ironical at the same time. His verse contains varied infinities while staying mysteriously homogenous and enlightened by the pursuit of the same unmistaken path.

Brook is Professor of Law at New York Law School.

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