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Tuesday January 13, 2015 in Books

With Translations of Paul Celan

By Oana Avasilichioaei

Limbinal, as its hybrid title suggests, speaks in the porous space between a limb’s articulations and a liminal border. Formally diverse, the pieces in Limbinal intersect prose fragments with incantatory dialogues, poetic footnotes with photographic phrases, rebellious translations with liquid transpositions.

Against a backdrop of globalization fantasies heralding the new utopia, the fallout of nationalistic impulses, conflicts repeatedly arising out of rigid entrenchment, and the increasingly hazy distinction between public and private, voices struggle to cross, to intersect, to overlap. It is the permeable spaces arising between these voices that matter. Here, linguistic limbs fold and migrate, a distant border politicks and trips over the horizon, a river overflows, floods, palimpsests another river, Arendt’s responsibility touches Deleuze’s fold, the body, changeable, restless, searches for resonances.

New translations of Paul Celan’s Romanian poems become a generative field of language that sprout other limbs and broach other thresholds. A voice intimately addresses the border while multilingual subjectivities tackle radical responses. So the mouth, possibly hungering, possibly melodic, is always present, ready to disarticulate in order to articulate before the city gates, wobbly with struggle.

Read “All Aboard!”, a poem from Limbinal.

ISBN 13: 9780889229242 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 8 H inches | 136 pages
$19.95 CAN / $19.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Poetry
Paperback Edition


“… two books in one, with a portfolio of colour photographs in the middle. The Romanian-born Montreal poet has an instinctive interest in boundaries. … It is heavily theorized and works brilliantly with formatting and fonts, but remains curiously detached, even in the love poems. The photographs that both join and divide the book illustrate the concepts more powerfully than the poems of the first part. … It takes courage to juxtapose one’s own writing with such giants [as Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs]. She carries it off honourably.”
Montreal Review of Books

“Oana’s layout activates the border between pages. A textless white line materializes from the fold. This line is not passive. … For Oana, the poetic frame is photographic by way of translation. … To translate is to convert one form into another form, life to image, image to language, language to language. To translate is process, again, the liminal (Limbinal) state, which energizes and prepares for metamorphosis. Oana translates in flux, words change with the speed of thought …”
– Resonance Reading Series Archives

“_Limbinal_ is full of wonder, of questions, of beautiful language and imagery. It’s more than I can possibly know or write about. Which is the best kind of book there is.”
– Amanda Earl

“Methodologically social, and dialogic in spirit, the different works here collected under the rubric of Limbinal offer powerful experiences of inhabitation. As a physical presence, one is always central to the spaces one moves through, even when they are marginal or ostensibly minor. Meanwhile, in one’s thinking, one often finds oneself at a remove, detached and ‘out of place.’ For Oana Avasilichioaei, this simultaneously central and marginal location is not that of the exile or alienated (though she readily acknowledges such experience); rather she discovers that borders, edges, margins, peripheries, and outskirts bind us to our world. From them, we generate our most meaningful commitments. Limbinal is, finally, a book of commitments – to the real, to distant intimacies, to immediate ideas, and to possibility. The result is stunning.” – Lyn Hejinian

“Limbinal tenaciously delineates and explores the zone(s) encountered when the poetic imagination meets the materiality of its practice. The writing is boundary walking, blindfolded, and traumatized that ‘this is the moment to speak.’ And the place to speak. The site of Avasilichioaei’s moment buzzes with the anxiety of political, historical, linguistic, and textual boundaries. The contact zone in these exquisite poems is the site of interrogation, a tension between words and mouth, spectacle and spectator, photo and text, invention and translation. Limbinal goes out on a limb and refuses to perform an easy answer.”
– Fred Wah

“Avasilichioaei is an experimentalist … [her] work is sophisticated, challenging, and transgressive, yet well worth the effort.”
– Elena Wolff

About the Contributors

Oana Avasilichioaei

Oana Avasilichioaei is a poet, translator, and editor whose poetry collections include We, Beasts (winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry) and feria: a poempark. She has translated the work of Romanian poet Nichita Stanescu and Quebecois writer Louise Cotnoir.

Limbinal cover

Oana Avasilichioaei

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