translated from the Romanian by Florin Bican
Mircea Dinescu (Slobozia, 1950) is a Romanian poet, journalist and editor. He has also been a strong critic of Communism and of Romanian political figures associated with Communism. In 1988, his book Moartea citeşte ziarul ("Death is reading the newspaper") was turned down by the Communist regime's censorship apparatus; it was later published in Amsterdam. In 1989, he was fired from the journal România Literară and held under house arrest after an interview of his appeared in the French newspaper Libération, in which he criticized President Nicolae Ceauşescu. Today, Dinescu is involved in a number of significant media outfits; he also hosts a political talk show on Realitatea TV. Both Dinescu's poems and his on-air persona bear the mark of his sarcastic, inventive, and often shocking style. The prominent philosopher Gabriel Liiceanu has dubbed Dinescu "the symbol and flag bearer of the Romanian suburbs," a compliment to his authenticity and his reputation as a cultural hero.
Florin Bican studied English at the University of Bucharest, Romania, where he became a compulsive translator of Romanian literature. The resulting translations have been published in Britain, Ireland, The United States and Romania. His translations from English into Romanian include Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark and T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. When not translating, Florin Bican writes articles for British and American Magazines and works on subversive children literature. His first volume of poetry, Cântice mârlăneşti (A Slob's Treasury of Verse), Bucharest, 2007, is a collection of politically incorrect cautionary rhymes. His work in progress, Tropice tâmpe (Torpid Tropics), is an attempt at cautionary prose, and just as politically incorrect. In 2009 he edited and contributed to Bookătăria de texte și imagini (The Cook-a-Book Pancyclopedia of Texts and Images), an anthology of Romanian children's literature. Since 2006 Florin Bican has been in charge of the Romanian Cultural Institute programme Translators in the Making, training foreign students to translate Romanian literature into their respective languages. So far some fifty translations have been published abroad as a result.