Dan Sociu [Romania]

The poet Dan Sociu was born in the Moldavian regional capital Botoşani in the far north east of Romania in 1978. He studied political science, philosophy, Romanian and Slavonic studies at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Jassy. He then worked there as a publisher’s reader and since 2005 has been working as an editor for a Bucharest publishing house.

Sociu belongs to the younger generation of poets, the so-called poets of »2000« who are often called representatives of »Miserabilism« by Romanian literary critics. This expression defines both a tendency to take on the pose of anti-hero and biographical writing which puts an emphasis on the banality of everyday life, allowing itself to be influenced by American popular literature. There is a definite rejection of any continuation of domestic traditions and the precious claim that literature is art is seen as grotesque or paradoxical: »i had / not yet seen any writers i thought they were all / dead, or even more than that.« In contrast, Sociu is committed to a dialogical poetics that is close to life, in which there are as many poetic subjects as existentially relevant meetings: »sometimes I feel that someone has died on me / in my head / then I embrace myself and wake up / and three days later / I spit out a frozen body / a tiny foetus / with lively blue / eyes / a small human with head in hands«.

At numerous readings in Romania and abroad Sociu has emerged as a charismatic poet, appreciated by the audience. At first he published cycles of poems and translations in Romanian literary journals. He has made a name for himself as a member of the Jassy literature group »Club 8«, which sets out to oppose the cultural establishment. In 2002 he made his literary début with the volume »borcane bine legate, bani pentru încă o săptămînă« (t: well sealed preserving jars, money for one more week) for which he was awarded the national prize to foster talent »Mihai Eminescu« in 2003. A year later he published his second volume of poems, »fratele păduche« (t: brother louse), and in 2005 he made a breakthrough with »cântece eXcesive« (t: eXcessive songs) which was awarded  Best Book of the Year by the Romanian writers’ association.

A selection of Sociu’s poems have been translated for German and English anthologies. Translations of his poems have also appeared in the Austrian literary magazine »Wienzeile«. He himself has also translated Charles Bukowski and published an anthology of poems by the author.  His first novel was »Urbancolia«.