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Father Dirt Paperback – January 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moscaliuc's first collection is hard to forget, though its best passages work more like fragments from memoirs than like poems: most of them portray the travails and traditions, the horrifying conditions and small victories, of life in Romania, where Moscaliuc grew up, in the reign of the tyrant Ceausescu (overthrown in 1989) and in the years of deprivation and chaos that have followed. At ten we each had at least one/ alcoholic parent... anyone could be the informer; the state's grotesque pronatalist policies (abortion banned, all fertile women spied on, any pregnancy rewarded) led to the suicides of pregnant teens. The same policies helped to fill the state's infamous orphanages; young men and women grew up there, then lived on the streets. In Visit Home, set in 2007, homeless kids sniff paint and live under manholes, while Chicken bones beckon neighborhood strays. Moscaliuc (who now teaches in New Jersey) can overshoot her mark or grow melodramatic even in her best lines: an orphan she knew, dead at 27, packed his wings and a silver spoon and returned to the streets. Yet her powers of observation and image remain impossible to deny. (Sept.)
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"With exquisite lyricism Mihaela Moscaliuc recreates her childhood in Ceausescu's Romania. The narrative of hardship and loss is arresting and poignant but it's the flavors and smells, the rich evocation of folk medicines, the vivid descriptions of potions, ghosts, and ways to ward off demons that raise this first book to impressive heights."—Maxine Kumin

"Set primarily in Communist and post-Communist Romania, Moscaliuc's poems depict an unflinching, street-level view of political oppression and urban poverty...With Father Dirt, Moscaliuc has constructed a collection of consequence."—Pleiades

"In [Moscaliuc's] poems, what might have been forgotten forever is rediscovered in the body and in ritual...Moscaliuc renders her poems with exquisite detail, in language that is both imaginative and lyrical."—Women's Review of Books

"In the midst of trauma, metaphor and imagination grant a magical glow to each fragmented, unsparing memory... Moscaliuc has written a book as gorgeous as it is tragic. An iteration of Eve, learning dark truths about her childhood world, she makes us know, and shows us the small beauties in enormous suffering."—West Branch

“Mihaela Moscaliuc transfers the weight of one world into the language of another through a series of visceral poetic meditations. The questions born of the blood, quince, and sweet-cherry tastes of her Romanian childhood flow into mature, terse, and sinuous English, to become not answers, but poems that pose new and hard questions. The music of the verse is American, but the contents are forged in the common sorrows of women trapped by an unfortunate history.”—Andrei Codrescu

“In Mihaela Moscaliuc’s debut collection, the émigré poet collects totems from her receding past—nettle tea, pinworms, a saddlebag of ghosts, a grandmother translating the cry of a raptor—even as she begins a family in the new world. Father Dirt is steeped in the urgency of a woman still possessed by the pungent memories of the ancestral world she left behind. An outstandingly beautiful collection.”—Kimiko Hahn


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Alice James Books; First Edition edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882295781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882295784
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,529,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Linda L. Baldanzi on January 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mihaela Moscaliuc is a poet of witness. Her superbly crafted narrative/lyric poems take us back to Romania during the Communist years, and tell us what it was like growing up under a cruel Communist regime. Her metaphors brilliantly put forth the pain and fear she and her family dealt with day after day.
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Format: Paperback
Mihaela Moscaliuc's "Father Dirt" reads like a novel that you won't be able to put down. If you liked the movie "Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days," you will enjoy her poetry and its at times raw, direct tone, with scenes that could offer the basis for a screenplay about Romania before 1989. Her poems portray the hardships of homeless Roma children living around the railway stations and the graphic, cruel consequences of the communist policy of illegal abortion. At the same time, her metaphor and irony celebrate the subtle ambiguities of a bilingual poet. Her book would make a perfect gift for your friends who travel to Romania or are interested in poets of Eastern-European descent.
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