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Canting Arms

Canting Arms

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By Emilian Galaicu-Păun
Translated by Adam J. Sorkin, with Diana Manole, Lidia Vianu, Claudia Serea, Rareșa Galaicu, Cristina Cîrstea Danilov & Stefania Hirtopanu
Introduction by Ilya Kaminsky

Publication Date: January 9, 2024

Paperback: 9781646052745
eBook: 9781646052950


One of Moldova’s most awarded poets, Emilian Galaicu-Păun’s style is rich with references at once playful and thematically serious, at times even comic.

Canting Arms, the first collection to bring Emilian Galaicu-Păun’s work to Anglophone readers, is comprised of a career-spanning selection of his work produced from 1989–2019. These poems—sardonic and visionary as well as surprising—unsettle the normative poetic form, a reflection of Moldova’s unorthodox national history as a product of the clash of many historical narratives of empire, a crossroad between East and West. This collection, the work of Adam J. Sorkin with six co-translators, shows everything from his earlier poems, full of scriptural and erotic references, to later work full of complex political, historical, and psychological considerations.

Biographical Note

Emilian Galaicu-Păun was born in 1964 in Unchitești, Republic of Moldova. His books of poetry include Lumina proprie (1986), Abece-Dor (1989), Levitații deasupra hăului (1991), Cel bătut îl duce pe cel nebătut (1994), Yin Time (1999), Gestuar (2002), Arme grăitoare (2009), and a career retrospective, A–Z.best (2012). His prose volumes are Gesturi. Trilogia nimicului (1996), Poezia de după poezie. Ultimul deceniu (1999), and Țesut viu: 10 x 10 (2011). His poetry, in Adam J. Sorkin’s collaborative translations, appears in the anthologies Singular Destinies: Contemporary Poets of Bessarabia (2003), A Fine Line: New Poetry from Eastern and Central Europe (2004), New European Poets (2008), and Born in Utopia: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Romanian Poetry (2006); and in the literary journals 3:am, Absinthe: New European Writing, Connotation Press, Orient Express, Poezia, Turbulence, and Poem (forthcoming). Galaicu-Păun is editor-in-chief at Cartier Publishing House, Chișinău, and has won numerous awards in Romania and Moldova. In 2014, the president of Moldova awarded him the Order of Cultural Merit in the Grade of Office. In 2015, he was one of the National Prize laureates of Moldova.

Adam J. Sorkin has published more than fifty books of translation. His work has won the 2005 Poetry Society Prize for European Poetry Translation as well as the International Quarterly Crossing Boundaries Award, the Kenneth Rexroth Memorial Translation Prize, the Ioan Flora Prize for Poetry Translation, and the Poesis Translation Prize, among others. His most recent publications include A Sharp Double-Edged Luxury Object by Rodica Draghincescu (Červená Barva, 2014), translated with Antuza Genescu; Gold and Ivy/Aur și iederă by George Vulturescu (Eikon, 2014), translated with Olimpia Iacob; The Starry Womb by Mihail Gălățanu (Diálogos, 2014), translated with Petru Iamandi and the author; and The Book of Anger by Marta Petreu (Diálogos, 2014), translated with Christina Zarifopol-Illias and Liviu Bleoca. His translation of Floarea Țuțuianu’s Syllables of Flesh is forthcoming from Plamen Press.


“Galaicu-Păun’s poetry is a volcanic, baroque discourse, expansive in its themes and relentless in its imaginative avalanches . . . [His] poetry essentializes even as it gets loose, and it also stretches at the very moment when the vision dramatically contracts.” —Al. Cistelecan

“Galaicu-Paun transforms the buzz of information into the pulsating lyric, the cavalcade of voices we live within becomes his fabric, language his material for new visions, twisted and transformed through the erotic and the divine. Galaicu-Paun writes a world of living tissue, bodies and blood, words and wit, driven by intense mental energy.” —Sean Cotter, translator of Solenoid