Immigrant Model

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

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?”

112 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

January, 2015

isbn : 9780822963349

about the author

Mihaela Moscaliuc

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.

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Mihaela Moscaliuc