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January 2015
112 pages  

6 x 9
9780822963349
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Immigrant Model
Moscaliuc, Mihaela
The poems in Immigrant Model explore issues of individual and communal identity in the face of conflict, conflicting "truths" or histories, and uprootedness. They explore the notion of homeland as it relates to one's roots, adopted space, psychological terrain, and gendered body.

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Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of the poetry collection Father Dirt and translator of Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper. Her poems, reviews, and translations of Romanian poetry have appeared in American Poetry Review, the Georgia Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and Mississippi Review, among others. Moscaliuc is the recipient of two Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards and a fellowship from the New Jersey Arts Council. She is an assistant professor of English at Monmouth University and teaches in the low-residency MFA program in poetry and poetry in translation at Drew University.
“In her second outing, Moscaliuc (“Father Dirt”) returns to her Romanian upbringing, looking as well at her parents’ time in America and at the Eastern Europeans affected by Chernobyl. With melancholy verve she envisions sensuous details everywhere, at once ‘sated and wild with thirst.’ A beach vacation in Spain recalls ‘a Romanian town wretchedly/ beautiful, bears nosing lamppost and ancient couples/ playing chess on benches painted in national colors.’ Confused in Queens, N.Y., the poet’s mother sleeps ‘in a toddler cot,/ apron pockets lined with shriveled fruit words, jars of preserve/ ticking under the mattress like hand grenades.’ Insistently international, Moscaliuc also touches on disputed works of Italian Renaissance art; the burial rituals of Madagascar; and the career of Han van Meegeren, who forged Vermeers. She has a way with the visible world—one poem remembers her own work as an artist’s model—and renders smell, taste, and other sensory details remarkably well. Her often lengthy free verse lines keep coming back to her first homeland: its bloody, convulsive history; its Gypsy (Roma) minority; its fruits and vegetables. Moscaliuc uses the five senses as if she owned them, even when retelling horrors, as in the uneven Chernobyl poems: ‘When I burned your clothes,/ petals of skin escaped into the gooseberry bush.’” --Publishers Weekly

“Moscaliuc presents a book about suffering that is gory, vivid, visceral, and, at times, lurid.”—Booklist

“The poems of Immigrant Model embody robust and sizzling magic—Mihaela Moscaliuc transports readers through vivid, multilayered scenes, richly startling images, and a mesmerizing gift for narrative. Here, a haunting world we would never otherwise see—our sense of history and terrain is altered forever.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Past praise for Mihaela Moscaliuc
“Moscaliuc can compress plot worthy of a novel into a one- to-two page poem that flaunts that skill often. Most impressively, she manages this compression without ever sounding prosaic, sacrificing little of the elegant, studied lyricism practiced in most of these poems. It’s a music that seems deceptively plain at times, but one that lingers, growing fuller and richer with each read.” —Martin Woodside, Poetry International

“To paraphrase Norman Mailer, when history becomes absurd and fraught the poet must take over for the historian. Moscaliuc is such a poet. She takes on Ceausescu’s Romania as well as the aftermath of Chernobyl with a surreal, sensuous ferocity. Mouth, lips, tongue (some of the most frequently repeated words in the book) are means of survival; they devour and indict. The book’s sustained power is extraordinary.”—Stephen Dunn

"A first-rate poet . . . Memory is nourished by journeys and there's much journeying in these poems . . . What's refreshing about Moscaliuc is her relish for experiences that grant her access to lives very unlike her own and, then, the degree of attention she grants them." --London Grip Poetry Review

“Demonstrates an unparalleled and often harrowing physicality. This is a book that leads from the tongue and belly, from the survivor’s instinct to taste and to tell.”—Connotation Press

“Many of the poems simmer with sensuality, be it the sensuality of discovery and the intimacy that comes from understanding, or that of sound and language. . . . The collection is at its best when it examines the perception of the immigrant, both from an internal vantage and that of the culturally unaware.”—The Rumpus

"These poems are about displaced lives, adjustment, survival, the future, but they're also about myth and art and the deep human ritual that keeps us going when everything is so bleak. They're about families, generations, and the collective historical struggle to prevail."--The Potomac

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The poems in Immigrant Model explore issues of individual and communal identity in the face of conflict, conflicting "truths" or histories, and uprootedness. They explore the notion of homeland as it relates to one's roots, adopted space, psychological terrain, gendered body. If the book reads as a collage of voices or shards rather than as a book with an identifiable arc, it's because that's the only way the poet has managed to answer, so far, the question, "What is it like to be of this world and this world and this world, while also of the elsewhere skirting these worlds?"
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