Omnivorous Syllables displays an expansiveness reaching "from Paradise to Inferno": Manhattan skyscrapers feed on neutrinos; emotions swing between "deepest historical fear" and "highest historical ecstasy". -- Robert Murrey Davis

Ioana Ieronim writes with the perfectionism of a mind always in flight. The poet is both protagonist and witness, present and yet constantly escaping the self in order to record the sensibilities of other places, other people. To read a new Ieronim collection is always to embark on a mystery tour full of intense textual pleasure and sensation. – Fiona Sampson

Fievre Y Candor

(Poetry Reading at Jaffo)

Transparent heart
look into it as if it was a crystal ball
el corason del tiempo

I do no longer know
which half used to hold a secret
that cannot be told however dangerously we’re trying
to lean out of the window
of our mother tongue

wondering: what do they say?
Just listen: Nada Nada
Fievre y candor
the rough sensuous texture of this candor
containing its contrary more than itself:

all the way from Paradise to Inferno
as Munch said, in this one brush stroke touching
wounded canvas
Lost in silence, do you think?
O no, lost in words
steeped headlong in writing
silky and cool like the Mediterranean in late autumn
bitter and thick like buttermilk on a god’s table
like the waves of the Dead Sea in November

Read more: Fievre Y Candor

The Power We Have

women in the Romanian countryside
are used to sing songs of praise
and anger and lament
that you can hear from one mountain to another

their voices are trained to break the flight of eagles in the sky
tilt the Axis Mundi

I feel like sitting on the naked earth
to wail over the fate of my country
wash away its dirt with my tears
burn its vicious tatters


Sunday, Lord's Day
twilight and Lent
the daylight decreases in breathtaking splendour

birds gather to sleep their voices other-worldly already

I need to set my burden of motley offers
on your steps Lord
You who are so young at this time, so young that

You can speak the mother-tongue of death
with such ease

Long Distance

morning star hidden in the sky
you hidden in the maze of the city
love hidden under stale clothes

only words pale words messengers of things invisible
that feed them long-distance

but distances are the devil's, they say
closeness only is God's
is the art of distance
or is that closeness?
- what is it that they say?

Wayward Kite

The country is poor
these are the days of want

Human fiber has been worn to the barren warp
we have lived through deepest historical fear
experienced highest historical ecstasy
been stripped of all that’s gone before
—the phantom of tomorrow, a wayward kite torn loose
from its string, lost without a trace

We have piled burden after burden on our backs
raised a sign above our lives
lived through hopelessness as vast as hope
soul and body had to be laid aside
in blind indecipherable forms
for seven years seventy-seven
and a myriad more beyond reckoning
as far as the most remote threshold of darkness
just this side of a new morning

Now for a moment we must sit in silence
in the manner of our ancestors
before any departure

Translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet


I read these words in which I no longer recognize you
nor can I still be recognized, I know. I once said:
I as any woman—you as any man

we poke our faces through the cutouts
in carnival dummy boards
never both in the same photograph

words flow down our bodies, stream into the ground
bitter cold sets aflame the nest of the day
living beasts, knowing not what they do,
have begun to devour their own
frozen young

something of us may yet endure
in years to come
the land isn’t bad, the weather may turn favourable
grass will again grow green in these desert places
you’ll see it when you return

Translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet


the culminating hour: you wash windowpanes floors you slice open preserves you chop a thousand cabbages you find yourself choking on their tyrannical pallor
you make libations of docile words you rinse a mountain of dishes you pick up a pile of books from the carpet you read the first page of an old novel recollecting the whole story you catch the mirror that always goes crooked on the wall from under the heavy furniture you expel coils of dust like some rollicking kittens

you drink ersatz coffee water from the tap vodka medicinal tea you look for shoes – comfortable but cheap - you buy safety pins you wrap yourself up in the colored rags of love’s delight

in the end, it’s quiet: you listen to the snow falling forever, the stellar dust

or is this a trick, too, on the ziggurat paths of sight?

Translated from the Romanian by Carrie Messenger


he’s the only one who drives the dogs away from the trash he shares with them the useful bits
because of the bulky clothes he wears in the frost
from a distance you’d mistake him for a robot

he sets off at dawn he guards himself from the hurrying world with his grizened face he becomes invisible

only the dogs follow him almost closely
because man is always able to dig best at the bottom of the dumpster, he brings to light a multitude of bones and goodies, he chooses what to take according to his need
he fills up sacks, he puts in pieces of bread stale slices of cake
rotting apples orange peels

in this way he’s raising – in his ghetto encircled by housing blocks –
five pigs every year, growing big as buffaloes
and he’s afraid they’ll knock down their tiny little house made of wood and cardboard

come Christmas he sells them and gives the money to his Son so he can get rugs silver thrones sculptures, whatever he wants, like he’s a big gentleman – or whatever pleases his wife, how tender she is in her dresses of silk velvet only flowers and flowing waters

Translated from Romanian by Carrie Messenger

Electronic poems

Translated from the Romanian by Adam J.Sorkin and Sergiu Celac

Oath of Allegiance

I swear to tell the truth and nothing but to name that correspondence
that quality
that value, most candidly,
having thrown open the windows of signs and seen the view
they are connected to by fine ropes, floating
I swear to tell nothing but the truth

on this day when
there’s hardly a whisper of wind and dragon kites
plummet to the ground