Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist
“These are angry, fierce, immensely sad poems, individual stories almost too grim to contemplate. Moscaliuc piles on detail after sordid detail, until they sound almost banal, in a condemnation of society’s collective blindness to the problem. ”
—Finding Time to Write
Available in print.
Born and raised in Romania, Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of the poetry collections Immigrant Model (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and Father Dirt (Alice James Books, 2010), translator of Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015) and Liliana Ursu’s Clay and Star (Etruscan Press, forthcoming 2020), and editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern (Trinity University Press, 2016). The recipient of two Glenna Luschei Awards from Prairie Schooner, residency fellowship from Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland) and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Fulbright fellowship to Romania, Moscaliuc is associate professor of English at Monmouth University.
“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.”
“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
“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.”
“Moscaliuc’s first collection is hard to forget…her powers of observation and image remain impossible to deny.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
More by Mihaela Moscaliuc: