#RivetingReviews: Anna Blasiak reviews SOMEWHERE A BLIND CHILD by Ion Cristofor

Ion Cristofor is an established figure in Romania – a poet, literary critic and translator, and a member of the famous ‘eighties generation’. His poetry has been translated into many languages, but this is his first appearance in English. Somewhere a blind child is a selection of his poems translated by Andreea Iulia Scridon, an emerging translator and a talented poet herself, who very skilfully captures Cristofor’s surrealism and sense of humour.

As if on command

A further dog emerged from the barking dog.

A further bird flew out of the bird.

From black earth, black earth is born.

Apart from a touch of the political, Cristofor’s writing has a strong element of the religious. The translator even calls him a ‘modern Christian poet’ in her introductory note. But, she writes, he ‘leaves the door open to possibility’, which, for this particular reader, makes a huge difference. Spirituality in these poems – both in a religious and philosophical sense – is accompanied by sensuality, and all of it is sprinkled with irony, delivered sparingly, but with quite a powerful punch.

from my window in the evening I look out at the solemn faces of idiocy

brutality satisfies its every whim in its impeccable tuxedo

scoundrels grin in the limousine their consciences are up for bidding

now the beast brings its victim roses 

while you Lord have screwed the moon in like a lightbulb

you’ve swept the stars up and let the birds of prey out

our roads go mysterious ways like those of the night butterfly. 

What also comes across strongly in Somewhere a blind child are the contrasts in register, switching from a grand, at times almost biblical tone to the very colloquial. This, again, works very well, snapping the reader out of a particular mode they may otherwise get stuck in. A lot of credit needs to go to the translator for finding effective ways to express the author’s range.

Id gladly leave everything and go

like Iambulus to the Islands of the Sun.


The time this guy lived in was Eden on earth.

In the language of these Heliopolitans you could hear sounds birds would make.

They never married, they lived happily, in bountiful equality.

As a former communist, I almost envy these wise Solarians. 

But we, we who lived in a world in which some were more equal than others.

Poor us.

I pity myself. I drink too much, make far too little money.

Id slit my veins open like the wise Stoic Seneca.

Maybe I need a disciple like Neros, whod order me to do it.

This is a very interesting collection, and I hope to see more of Cristofor’s poetry appear in English in the future. I also want to see more of Scridon’s translations, and more Naked Eye books, with their admirable focus on translated literature and first-time literary translators.

Reviewed by Anna Blasiak


by Ion Cristofor

Translated by Andreea Iulia Scridon

Published by Naked Eye Publishing (2021)

November 2021 #RivetingReviews titles are available to buy from bookshop.org.

Anna Blasiak is a poet, writer and translator. She has translated over 40 books from English into Polish and, mainly as Anna Hyde, Polish into English. She is a co-translator (with Marta Dziurosz) of Renia’s Diary by Renia Spiegel. Her bilingual poetry book, Café by Wren’s St James-in-the-Fields, Lunchtime, is out from Holland House Books, as is Lili. Lili Stern-Pohlmann in conversation with Anna Blasiak. annablasiak.com.

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of FIVE BOOKS by Ana Blandiana

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of MADGERMANES by Birgit Weyhe

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of BICKI-BOOKS by various authors

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of THINGS I DIDN’T THROW OUT by Marcin Wicha

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of THE BOOK OF VENICE. A CITY IN SHORT FICTION edited by Orsola Casagrande

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of IN MEMORY OF MEMORY by Maria Stepanova

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of CITY OF SANDCASTLES by Hagar Peeters

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of NIGHT TRUCK DRIVER by Marcin Świetlicki


Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of HANA by Alena Mornštajnová

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of NO TIME LIKE NOW by Andrei Codrescu

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of UNDER CLOUDED SKIES and BEAUREGARD / PENSÉES SOUS LES NUAGES et BEAUREGARD by Philippe Jaccottet

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of BITTER GRASS by Gëzim Hajdari

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of TRACING THE UNSPOKEN by Milan Šelj

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of PIXEL by Krisztina Tóth

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of BLUEPRINT by Theresia Enzensberger

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of TIDAL EVENTS. SELECTED POEMS by Mária Ferenčuhová

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of HAVING NEVER MET by Inga Pizāne

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of GAMES WITH GRETA & OTHER STORIES by Suzana Tratnik

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of HYDRA’S HEADS by Nora Gomringer

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of WHATEVER THE NAME by Pierre Lepori

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of THE GALLOPING HOUR: FRENCH POEMS by Alejandra Pizarnik

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of CARAVAN LULLABIES by Ilzė Butkutė

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of SEVEN STONES by Vénus Khoury-Ghata

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of THE GREEN CROW by Krīstine Ulberga

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of THE GREAT PLAN B by Justyna Bargielska

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of NIEWAŻKOŚĆ by Julia Fiedorczuk

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of THE ANGELS DIE by Yasmina Khadra

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of LULLABY FOR A HANGED MAN by Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of QUIET FLOWS THE UNA by Faruk Šehić

Read Anna Blasiak’s #‎RivetingReview of DYGOT by Jakub Małecki

Category: ReviewsNovember 2021 – Romania


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *