CARDINAL POINTS: THE CURRENT ISSUE
Nina Cassian
Nina Cassian
Nina Cassian, a poet, translator, journalist, composer, and film critic, was born in 1924 in Romania. After the publication in 1947 of Cassian's début collection La Scara 1/1 (Scale 1:1) she came under attack for writing poetry that went against the spirit of Soviet-dominated Romania. In 1985, she went to the United States as a visiting professor, determined to return to Romania. In her own words: 'A poet never leaves his country, his native soil, his language, of his own free will.' However, when the Romanian secret service, the Securitate, arrested and later tortured and killed a friend of hers, Gheorghe Ursu, for keeping a diary in which he insulted Ceausescu and his wife, and which included several of Nina Cassian's satirical poems, she knew she could not go back. After her forced emigration she was banned from Romania's literary annals until the collapse of the dictatorship. After being granted political asylum in the United States, Nina Cassian began publishing poems in translation, including some of her own, and in 1998 produced her first collection of poems written directly in English, Take My Word for It. Other volumes in English include: Life Sentence, Cheerleader for a Funeral, Call Yourself Alive, Lady of Miracles, and Continuum (2008). Nina Cassian has translated into Romanian works by William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Christian Morgenstern, Yiannis Ritsos, Mayakovsky, and her friend Paul Celan.











































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