Translation Tuesday: Excerpts from Mediterranean Suite by Florin Caragiu

Not far away, the frescoes catch in their fishing nets The memory and the wind. Closely following behind us, the dolphins.

Today’s Translation Tuesday is brought to you by MARGENTO, Asymptote Editor-at-Large for Romania and Moldova, and poet and translator Marius Surleac. As you immerse yourself in these lines, it is worth keeping in mind Florin’s unique profile and approach to creation as he combines poetry, mathematics, and Eastern Orthodox theology. There is a specific emphasis on mystical practice, particularly the kind that involves “iconic Hesychasm.” These excerpts from Florin Caragiu’s work, Mediterranean Suiteexplore a sense of nostalgia, loss, and change.

Excerpts from Mediterranean Suite

It was only after long that we found the poet’s grave

In the graveyard by the sea. We barely made out

His name on the burial stone. We had passed

The spot several times

Without noticing it. Just as day after day people keep reaching

Your sight and you have no idea what they’re holding back.

Just as the blotchy calligraphic lettering

Overshadows a voice and its sharp beams

Coming out of a cloud of sea gulls, out of the lighted beacon

Piercing the sea’s costa and its coastal heart,

The wave amphitheater, and the city’s watery arteries.


Not far away, the frescoes catch in their fishing nets

The memory and the wind. Closely following behind us, the dolphins.



we travel and we change

along with the life that flows through us—

like a light beam that doesn’t leave anything

behind—we take the cedars with us,

houses of dry stone,

sculptures hibernating under cloth tarps.

a scarecrow

opens his arms widely

in the greenhouse, behind the white armchair.

at the terraced garden’s edge

overlooking the valleys inundated by the color green

we sit by the small pool in the rock

on the rock’s soft moss

our hands getting closer together.

Translated from the Romanian by MARGENTO and Marius Surleac

Florin Caragiu is the author of several poetry collections and is a theology essayist. He is the director of Platytera Press and an editor for Sinapsa, an interdisciplinary journal. He has published a large number of poetry selections and essays in high-profile literary magazines. He regularly takes part in various radio and TV programs as a special guest. Florin is also the organizer of the Sinapsa Reading Series and Festival.

MARGENTO (Chris Tănăsescu) is a poet, performer, academic, and translator who has lectured, launched books, and performed in the US, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Europe. His pen name is also the name of his multimedia cross-artform band that won a number of major international awards. He is co-author of poetryartexchange, his co-translations with Martin Woodside from Gellu Naum’s poetry (Athanor and Other Pohems) were nominated by World Literature Today as Most Notable Translation in 2013, and he has written the libretto for a rock opera composed by Bogdan Bradu. He deploys networks-of-networks and natural-language-processing algorithms in his collaborative poetry, and continues his work on the graph poem project together with Diana Inkpen and their students at the University of Ottawa. MARGENTO is Romania & Moldova editor-at-large for Asymptote.

Marius Surleac is a poet and poetry translator. His poetry was published by international journals such as Pif MagazineMadHat LitThe Ilanot Review, Literary OrphansPrick of the Spindle, and other journals. His volume of poetry, Zeppelin Jack, was released by the Herg Benet publishing house in 2011. His translation of The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees (poetry) by Marc Vincenz was published with Tracus Arte publishing house in 2015. He translates poetry by Marc Vincenz, Fady Joudah, G. C. Waldrep, and others into Romanian. His recent poetry has been published by FIVE:2:ONE and his translations by Asymptote and Solstice. You can read more about Marius’s work here.


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