Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's resolution dashed by missing Robot

I read this tweet

and thought, "Great idea for a resolution!" and then felt immediately disappointed in myself for making a resolution because they are foolish things and, even if I were to keep true to such a fire, I should resolve something more practical or useful. But here we are. I thought, "OK....Moldova! Go!"

Moldova is my favorite European country no American has ever heard of. A cursory search through their celebrated authors led me to a name I wish was my own.

An avant-garde poet from the 1930s and author of a single novel titled Music-hall, Robot was swept up in Soviet fervor during Romania's cessation into the Soviet Union. From a weirdly exhaustive Wikipedia article, the sole source of info on Mr. Robot:

This, Iurie Colesnic suggests, was "a conscious choice", and justified by Robot's belief that avant-garde poetry was well-appreciated by the Soviet administration (making him "the most obvious intellectual victim of Soviet propaganda").[3] 

No, Robot. No regime appreciates the avant-garde. That's what makes it avant-garde.

I was ready to jump head on in this resolution but the LSU Library shockingly in its 2 trillion books has nothing by Alexandru Robot, or even by his cooler secondary nom-de-plume Al. Robot. All I have is one of the little poem snippets plugged into the Wikipedia article, thus plugged here.

Şi luna care cată piciorul tău în iarbă,
Un fund amar de cupă întinde ca s-o soarbă,
Efebul care strânge metafore şi fluturi.[17]
And the moon, searching for your foot in the grass,
Presents for sipping the bitter bottom of a cup,
To the ephebe who gathers metaphors and butterflies.

Robot was still an ephebe ("young man") when in 1940 he had a row with the other Moldovan poet of note, the fascist leaning Ion Barbu (for which the library has a sole volume in Romanian.) All I'm saying is, Al. Robot vs. Ion Barbu is a great matchup of names. A year later, the Nazis occupied Bessarabia and Robot was on a refugee boat that sunk in the Black Sea. It is presumed by most who presume such that Robot drowned, though there are some reports he died in battle as a conscripted member of the Red Army.

All this is from Wikipedia, so take it as you will. I'll let Ol' Robot go as I will this resolution that led me here, but I'll raise a first workday coffee to our friend Robot and endeavor to gather metaphors and butterflies myself in this glorious new year.

No comments:

Post a Comment