ARCHETYPES in Code-Mixing Poetry

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    Poetry: Mihaela CRISTESCU
    Art: Luminița ȘERBĂNESCU

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    in Code-Mixing Poetry


    Archetypes is a collection of poems intent on revealing the deeper patterns of meaning beneath the surface level of language—that infinitely generative folk resource of words and syntax which streams through every border and connects all antipodes. Code-switching from English to Romanian with a virtuosic contiguity, Cristescu’s evocations of an author divided between Ego, Soul and Self are enigmatic and precise—they seduce the monoglot reader into the unfamiliar territories of a foreign language, and draw the casual observer into a verdant philosophical landscape.

    In Cristescu’s poems, familiarity and estrangement meet where word and object intersect, and the simplest images—a panama hat, a solander box—pierce the page and become rich metonymies, carried along by the rhythm of lines; they are thoughts brought in heavy buckets over field and stream. These charged signs and symbols pour as water through ‘branches and fingers, doors and circles’ until they become ‘lines on paper’ read by ‘humans learning letters’. Each poem speaks to the reader like water ‘talking to the new born house in the summertime’—they build a house of words where all must learn to make their home.

    An ingenious, and unfathomably deep work of poetic achievement, Archetypes is charged with a Bakhtinian sense of the carnivalesque—it is a bold divination into language’s bewildering complexity.


    Luke Carman