Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of the poetry collections Immigrant Model and Father Dirt and the translator of Liliana Ursu’s Clay and Star and Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper. Her awards include two Glenna Luschei Awards, residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, MacDowell, and Le Chateau de Lavigny, and a Fulbright fellowship to Romania. She is associate professor of English at Monmouth University.
In poems of compassion and social justice, Mihaela Moscaliuc probes borders and memory to work through, and further complicate, understandings of belonging—from places (including her native Romania) and histories, to ways of knowing, loving, and grieving. If the wounded populate these poems, so too do goats, black swans, centipedes, dismembered dolls, and wandering wombs. The ekphrastic sequence on Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy honors stories of Roma people while addressing issues of (mis)representation and epistemic violence. As in previous collections, cemeteries become sites of power, holding the living accountable.
The homeless women of Iaşi
So many shouting at no one, disputing
accusations, nodding maniacally,
flogging trees with headscarves—
their pantomimes re-populate
sidewalks with ousted ghosts.
They pose no threat
but we detour cautiously,
afraid their siren voices might awaken
the penal colony in our ribcage.
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?”