“Linda Maria Baros occupies a special place among young Romanian poets,” Alexandru Matei wrote on 8 January 2005 in the literary supplement of Ziua (The Day). “I do not know for certain if this last appellative is correct, since no one can say at the moment whether she is more part of Romanian than of French literature.”
Linda Maria Baros was born on 6 August 1981 in Bucharest, where at the age of seven she made her debut in the young people’s periodical Scânteia tineretului (The Spark of Youth).
She completed her secondary-school education in Paris, where she subsequently studied comparative literature at the Sorbonne. During this period she continued to write, and by her twenty-first birthday she had as many book publications to her name as there were candles to blow out. Apart from translations from Romanian into French (Henri Michaux, Boris Vian . . .) and from French into Romanian (Lucian Blaga, Nichita Stănescu . . .) as well as a handful of plays, she had also published two collections of poetry in Romanian: Amurgu-i departe, smulge-i rubanul! (The twilight is far away, pull off her decoration!, 2001) and Poemul cu cap de mistreţ (The poem with the head of a wild boar, 2003).
In 2004, for the first time she wrote a collection directly in French: Le livre de signes et d’ombres (The book of signs and shadows). The manuscript was promptly awarded the Prix de la Vocation, which, apart from a cheque, consisted of a publication of the work by the small, distinguished publishing firm Cheyne. In 2006, this same firm published her second French collection: La maison en lames de rasoir (The house of the razor blades, 2006). In the autumn of 2007, this collection was awarded the Prix Apollinaire, one of the most prestigious distinctions for poetry in France. At the age of twenty-six, she is the youngest laureate in the 65-year history of this award.
So today we are able to answer Alexandru Matei’s question by saying that Linda Maria Baros is definitely a part of young French poetry. This does not mean as yet that she has ‘prised’ (or ‘prized’) herself out of Romanian literature. Since the poet lives in two languages, she translates herself from Romanian into French and vice versa. The award-winning collection returned to its home country under the title Casa din lame de ras, published by the classic publisher Cartea Românească.
Also worth mentioning is that together with Jan H. Mysjkin she has translated various Dutch poets into Romanian, including Remco Campert, Arjen Duinker, John Fenoghen, Gerrit Kouwenaar, Sybren Polet and Mustafa Stitou
[Linda Maria Baros took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2008.
This text was written on that occasion.]
Amurgu-i departe, smulge-i rubanul!, Editura Academiei Orient-Occident, 2001
Il est loin le soleil couchant, arrache-lui le ruban! (French translation of Amurgu-i departe, smulge-i rubanul!), Éditions AMB, 2001
Poemul cu cap de mistreţ, Editura Vinea, 2003
Le livre de signes et d’ombres, Cheyne Éditeur, 2004
Dicţionarul de semne şi trepte (Romanian translation of Le livre de signes et d’ombres), Editura Junimea, 2005
La maison en lames de rasoir (Cheyne Éditeur, 2006)
Casa din lame de ras (Romanian translation of La maison en lames de rasoir, with CD, Cartea Românească, 2006)