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Dor - Alina Stefanescu

Dor - Alina Stefanescu

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"You must write a self/ out of waiting/ to speak" asserts Alina Ștefănescu's Dor and oh, what a prismatic, many-headed self has been written into existence within these pages. In her stunning second full-length collection, Ștefănescu explores the worlds contained in the Romanian word Dor- a word close to longing but with no exact English equivalent-as it relates to the speaker's life as a daughter, a mother, a foreign body in a country that harms and holds us conditionally. Simultaneously tender and incisive, witty and full transformations, this book and its many ecosystems of longing and belonging begs to be re-read and promises new wonders each time.

- Jihyun Yun, author of Some Are Always Hungry


In one of the beautiful poems in the collection, Dor, Alina Ștefănescu writes of a "heart shaped like a shovel." Indeed, Ștefănescu's heart unearths the rich mysteries of an amalgam of Romanian and southern American culture in language deeply shadowed but attentive to the most telling of details. This is a collection that twists form and content into poems that are by turns tender or incendiary, or both.

- Erin Coughlin Hollowell, author of Every Atom


Alina Ștefănescu's Dor is a compendium of desire, displacement, longing, and belonging. While the word "dor" itself "serves as a bridge which creates its own territory from fusion," here Stefanescu's words do their own act of bridging the spaces between the body and language. In these poems, tongues, like nations, have borders; nouns and verbs come alive with ownership and agency. Part genealogy of influences, part meditation on love, lust, and loss, and part pointed feminist critique, Dor is a multi-faceted collection that creates a newly textured landscape of language.

- Emily Holland, author of Lineage and editor of Poet Lore


Looking at what makes her heart soar with Dor, Alina Ștefănescu leads us through undilluted layers of loss, love, time, language and identity, showing that "the verb for longing in Romanian is a mouth." The condensed nature of the poems and their wordplay invite the reader into a world of sensation and memory where language shifts and blooms, filling mouth and eyes with delight, where, "any body is a bow, tuned to tremble."

- Clara Burghelea, author of The Flavor of the Other

Some of the most complicated and haunting songs live inside these poems: nocturnes and fugues, the humming of wordless lullabies, birds who "sing in unpredatored darkness," and most significantly, the doina-a traditional Romanian folk song of intense longing. That longing charges and electrifies this book: an attempt to hold the uncontainable, to name the unnamable, to translate an emotion that can't quite be translated from one language to another. From inside these uncharted spaces, Alina Ștefănescu gifts us with this moving collection and all its rare, disquieting music.

- Matthew Olzmann, author of Contradictions in the Design


"And what is memory / if not fondled ache..." From the Romanian Republic of Alabama, "where longing is /a homeland", Alina Ștefănescu's Dor sings us back to the forgotten, the lost, the silences we hold and grow; here we learn, "looking back is a way of looking within." These are poems that bruise in the way they remind us we are alive. The book will singe your fingertips, show the life you are sewn into, feed you missing language, and cut through the deep-fake of not feeling. As the poet reminds us, "The danger is not dying but living in exile from / longing."

- Amelia Martens, author of The Spoons in the Grass Are There to Dig a Moat

EAN: 9780578915784
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Alina Stefanescu
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