by Joseph Mastando
On April 17th, Mount Saint Mary College’s Curtain Memorial Library opened its doors to yet another speaker in the Annual April Poetry Series. Dr. Lucia Cherciu, a professor of English at SUNY Dutchess, shared some poems from her bilingual body of work, reading in both English and Romanian.
As part of this semester’s Creative Campus Initiative, Mount Saint Mary College happily welcomed the accomplished poet to share a portion of her work. The poetry reading added to the list of the Mount’s April Poetry Series, including the reading of Mary Mokofske, which occurred the week prior, and an open mic reading, which will take place next week.
Although not a native speaker to the language, the collection of work Dr. Cherciu shared with the college was written almost primarily in English. Even so, the poems did not neglect her native homeland, but, to the contrary, provided inspiration for most of her topics. Throughout the hour in which she read, Dr. Cherciu discussed her upbringing in Romania during communism, her native language—both its style and declination in response to living in America—, and the cultural differences between America and Romania. The subjects of her poems, however, were not limited to her homeland.
Dr. Cherciu’s subject matter is even more eclectic than her bilingual speech. Cherciu comments on subjects that range from her experiences as a teacher to her perspectives on contemporary society. Her poems discuss women, American’s treatment of the lawn, Poughkeepsie’s infamous Loop Bus, students’ frustrations with reading aloud, and, unavoidably, Facebook. Some works even touched upon pregnancy, undoubtedly because Cherciu will be expecting.
Dr. Cherciu shared 18 of her poems with Mount Saint Mary College, consisting mostly of those that have been published. Although bilingual, Cherciu made it a point to note that she does not translate her works from Romanian into English—at least not yet. She described her pieces written in Romanian as more linguistically playful and noted that they would lose this aestheticism if translated.
At the conclusion of her lecture, Dr. Cherciu left the audience with her thoughts on poetry. Much like prayer, Cherciu said, “We don’t write poetry when we’re happy, but when we’re lonely or have bouts of insomnia.” Cherciu continued by saying, “Poetry provides another type of nourishment to the soul that keeps us sane.”
Dr. Checiu’s reading was well received by the audience in Mount Saint Mary College’s Curtain Memorial Library. Just one more section of the April Poetry Series remains for Mount Saint Mary College’s students and faculty to attend. If you’re interested in sharing poetry you have written or for listening to the creative talent the Mount has in store, make sure to stop by the Curtain Memorial Library on April 26th to attend the open mic night and grab a copy of Mount Saint Mary College’s literary magazine, Keys, which will launch that day.