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The Universal within the Local: celebration of Romania's premiere poet Mihai Eminescu

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Event description

Poetry Sydney partners with the Australian Romanian Academy, supported by the State Library of New South Wales to present a literary arts event that celebrates the cultural significance of Mihai Eminescu, as the National Poet of Romania.

The 19th century Romanian poet and writer, Mihai Eminescu is considered a romantic poetic who wrote on a wide range of themes from nature to love, to deep social commentary. In years after his death, the poems and writing of Eminescu had a profound impact on the Romanian society.

The Romanian Parliament introduced a National Culture Day in 2010, on the day of the birth of Mihai Eminescu’s, January 15. The homage is emblematic of the universality of his Western European influences and his deep national connections.

The event will be exponential in providing the antipodean community an opportunity to connect and strengthen relations in Sydney, Australia and Romania.  This collaboration between Poetry Sydney and the Australian-Romanian Academy will reintroduce the event as an annual presentation in February next year with the charter of scheduling it in January to align with the official Romanian National Cultural Day in 2024.
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Event schedule - Saturday 1 April 2023

  • Eminescu’s poems in English: Tug Dumbly
  • Eminescu in Romanian: Catalin Anastase, Adriana Paul and George Roca
  • Australian poets: Tatiana Bonch, Charles Freyberg and Angela Stretch
  • Instrumental music: Ciprian Porumbecu’s Ballad performed by the Zaki Duo, Isabel Tzorbatzaki and Ariel Nurhadi
  • How does this sound in English? A selection of best Romanian poetry in song by Daniel Reynaud
  • Romanian poets: Anisoara Laura Mustetiu, George Roca and Dorian Stoilescu
  • Remembering Tudor Bucea: George Bucea, Tug Dumbly, Daniel Ionita and Angela Stretch
  • Emcee: Daniel Ionita

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Participants:

Cătănin Anastase was born in the city of Constanța, on the shores of Black Sea (ancient poet Ovid’s exile place). He emigrated with his family initially to New Zealand and then to Australia. Cătălin is a professional actor and photographer, who graduated from the Bucharest Institute for Theatre and Cinematography. He is known also for his poetry. A founding member of the Australian-Romanian Academy for Culture, and the director and producer for Community Theatre, Teatru Pentru Comunitate in Sydney.

Inna Blomma is a Ukrainian artist. In many of her works, she captures the beauty and complexity of flowers and plants through realistic paintings done in watercolour or acrylics. Physalis is part of a collection of paintings of flowers, which have a special connection to Inna’s home city of Kyiv.

Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya was born in Crimea, Ukrainian Soviet Republic of the former Soviet Union. She studied physics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and philology at Moscow State Humanitarian University, where she earned a PhD in Russian experimental poetry. In 2003, Tatiana moved to Sydney, where she received a PhD degree from UNSW, on contemporary Russian poetry. Tatiana is an author of a great number of publications in Russian, including award-winning collections of short stories and essays. Her poetry and short stories in English appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies: London Grip, POEM, Rochford Street Review, Can I tell you a secret? Not So Quiet, Skywriters, Across the Russian Wor(l)d, Bridges, Transitions; East West Literary Forum, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, and other editions. Tatiana is also a researcher and an editor of Articulation literary journal (in Russian), and Board member of PEN Moscow. Tatiana lives and works in Sydney, Australia. In the time of the Russian war against Ukraine, Tatiana totally and completely stands with Ukraine.

Tug Dumbly is a poet, performer, satirist, singer, songwriter and photographer. He has setup and ran the seminal spoken word night, Bardflys in Sydney. He has released two spoken word CDs, Junk Culture and Idiom Savant, through ABC. He has been awarded first prize in spoken word competitions across Australia. In 2020 he had two poems shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, for which he was also shortlisted in 2019. In 2020 he won the Borranga Poetry Prize, and was runner up in the WB Yeats Poetry Prize. In 2019 he was long listed (for the second time) for the Vice Chancellor’s Poetry Prize. In 2015 he came second in the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize. His first poetry collection, Son Songs, was published by Flying Islands Books in 2018.

Charles Freyberg is a Kings Cross (Sydney) poet and performer. In the 1990s he worked as an actor and director, especially with the surreal clown Victor Sheehan, his first poetic mentor. His own writing started with drag shows and performance art staged at Club Bent at the Performance Space in the late 90s and with a number of plays. He studied poetry at postgraduate level at the University of Sydney, supervised by Judith Beveridge. His poems have been published in Meanjin, Plumwood Mountain, Urban Village, Sappho and other anthologies. His two books have been published by Ginninderra Press, Dining at the Edge and the Crumbling Mansion. He performs his work widely around Sydney. He staged a one person show of the Crumbling Mansion at El Rocco Kings Cross which also toured to Newcastle. He is a founding member of the poetry and music group the Fierce Violets. He gives thanks to all the beautiful enlivening eccentrics who have inspired him.

Daniel Ioniță (Emcee) is an Australian poet and translator of Romanian origin. He has had his own work published in both his native Romania as well as Australia and the USA. Daniel has been published in bilingual anthologies as a principal translator and editor of volumes such as Testament – 400 Years of Romanian Poetry, a comprehensive collection of Romanian poetry in English from its origins until today. This volume won the most important translation award in Romania, for representing Romanian literature into a foreign language, the Antoaneta Ralian Prize awarded by the International Bookfair Gaudeamus-Bucharest 2019. Other such anthologies include The Bessarabia of My Soul, a representation, also in English, of poets from the Republic of Moldova (for which Daniel was awarded the Poetry Prize of the Literature & Art magazine in the Republic of Moldova – 2018), and Return Ticket from Sydney to Bistrita, A Lyrical Carousel between the Antipodes. His latest collection, Pentimento, has recently been published by Interactive Publications earlier this year. Daniel is the current president of the Australian-Romanian Academy for Culture.

Anisoara Laura Mustetiu was born in Timisoara, Romania. She emigrated to Germany where she studied journalism and German Literature, and developed a career in Marketing for two decades. In 2014 she settled in Hornsby, Sydney, where she writes, and produces a cultural radio program (Emotions and Love) for Radio-ProDiaspora, a cultural Romanian station broadcasting in over 100 countries. In 2017 Anisoara finished a Bachelor of Communication, with majors in Creative Writing and Business Communication from Griffith University, Australia.

Adriana Paul has a particular affinity for translating poetry and song lyrics and has worked professionally in translation and interpreting, being fluent in five languages. Holding a Ph.D. in Physiology from the Université Laval (Quebec, Canada), Adriana has also worked as a scientist, conducting research and publishing in peer reviewed scientific magazines. Sydney based since her adolescence, Adriana is a Romanian-born lyric soprano. She has studied bel canto at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has been performing in Australia and Canada as a recital soloist, in shows and in shows and concerts, collaborating with renowned vocal groups such as The Tallis Scholars (UK) and Amarcord Ensemble (Germany).

Professor Daniel Reynaud was born in 1958 in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. He lectures in history, literature and media at Avondale University. Interested initially in literature and the media, Daniel Reynaud has specialized in the history of the Australian contribution to the Great War. His works: Celluloid Anzacs, The Man the Anzacs Revered and Anzac Spirituality, among others – are appreciated by both the specialists and the public. Daniel Reynaud remains involved in the fields of literature and creative arts as a poet and singer-songwriter.

George Roca was born in Huedin-Cluj in Transylvania (Romania), George Roca settled in Australia in 1982. Before that, he studied and worked in Theatre (in Romania) as well as in the Tourism Industry. He is known as a writer, translator, editor and publisher. He has been editor-in-chief, as well as editor, of some of the most prestigious Romanian print and on-line literary and cultural magazines, whether published in Romania, Germany, USA or Australia. He also worked for the Australian Council for the Arts and continues to work in publishing.

Angela Stretch is a Sydney based poet, curator, writer and organiser from Christchurch, New Zealand. The artist uses language and poetry through different mediums and has been exhibited and published nationally, and internationally. She is the director of Poetry Sydney, intelligent animal, and is on the Board as Chamber Secretary of the Surry Hills Business Partnership. She produces and presents Arts Friday on Eastside Radio.

Zaki Duo, are a Sydney-based ensemble that play an eclectic mix of world, classical and popular music.   Isabel Torbatzaki and Ariel Nurhadi have performed across Sydney and surrounding regions in a wide range of venues and settings including home concerts, weddings, birthday parties, restaurants, and galleries.

Presenters:

The Australian-Romanian Academy for culture and science aims to enhance cooperation between Australians and Romanians.

Poetry Sydney is an independent literary organisation committed to a presence for poetry our culture. We advocate the social benefits of poetry experiences to connect and strengthen creative thinking. For more information please visit our website: poetrysydney.org

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Image detail: Inna Blomma: Physalis © 2023. All rights reserved.

Poetry Sydney gives respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation,
the traditional owners of the land we live, create, meet and work.
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