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Nora Iuga - a remarkable poet, translator and playwright
article [ Culture ]

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by [Gelu Vlaºin ]

2005-01-17  |     | 

A remarkable poet and playwright, Nora Iuga has also the fame of a great translator. The last book she translated needs no introduction: "Gunter Grass." She also translated from August Strindberg, E.T.A. Hofmann, Elfriede Jelinek, Herta Muller, Ernst Junger, over 10 books in all. The same number is found in the poetry volumes she published. She was raised in a bohemian milieu (her father was a violinist and her mother a ballerina). She considers that she had a happy childhood, the kind few have.

It is because of the special surroundings that she felt attracted towards arts and perhaps this is the reason why her sensibility developed faster. When she was 6, she was already travelling to Germany, Holland, Belgium, places where her parents toured. She thus learned how to think freely and she also learned German. Upon their return to the country, her parents sent her to the Ursulinenkloster - the Catholic Institute for Nuns in Sibiu, where she spent three years. The mysterious and strange background of the institute was to mark her ulterior existence; this is visible in the poetry she wrote.

The torture instruments she saw when she was visiting the ancient German cathedrals gave her restless nights and nightmares. The devil and death became permanent items in her life. Perhaps those were the elements that opened the way for poetry. That is when her personality acquired the two essential dimensions that appear in everything she writes: pity and fear. Living in a non-traditionalist family she developed a free spirit that helped her think and feel young. This is one of the secrets of the longevity of her poetry. She began writing poetry in the 2nd grade at the Catholic Institute while her father was playing a piece by Jeno Hubay.

That was the first time that she felt the touch of inspiration. Perhaps this is why she does not like being called a professional. She says that she only writes when she is inspired. When she was still very young she met with writer Miron Radu Paraschivescu. He was the first to acknowledge her as a poet, he even wrote the foreword to her first poetry volume: "It's not my fault," 1968. She is proud because her debut was the same year and month as Virgil Mazilescu, who remained her friend until the day he died. Her husband, poet George Almosnino, was a big influence for her.

When she received her first prize for poetry she was especially happy for she did not expect such an honour. She says this is the secret for happiness; never expecting and never taking things for granted. From this point of view she considers herself the lucky receptacle of gifts. The greatest gift that she received was the Prize of the Writers Union for all three sections: poetry, translation and prose. She had a few great teachers when she was at the Faculty - George Călinescu and Ion Vianu. She is in love with yellow roses and "Dracula" - her 10-year-old cat, the only soul allowed in her inner sanctum. Nora Iuga appreciates young writers and she does anything she can to promote them at the sessions of the Writers Union.

Herta Muller and Nora Iuga - Literaturhaus-Muenchen
foto: © Heidi Maier

Gelu Vlaşin

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