Florentin Smarandache, a poet with the Dot under the i
by F. Vasiliu
The author of these lines is confronted with two assertions. The first one: who is Florentin Smarandache? The second: the poet has no biography; his poetry is his biography. But the latter assertion comes to eliminate the former and, the problem of choice is no longer a problem. However, when would a reader be interested in a poet's life? A passionate reader of poetry might answer: "never," while another particular impressed by the poet´s work may feel the need to know some data about his life.
Poets impose themselves with difficulty on the world of readers. A volume of poetry has a circulation of 23000 copies even in good times. After ten titles written in 1520 years, a poet is known only by those 30,000 readers, owning sometimes only a single title from his ten ones. If those who read him are ten times more, the poet in question may consider himself well placed in the conscience of his nation. These considerations may be applicable to those poets who have lived herein Romaniaand have published book after book at the Romanian publishing houses. But this "happy regime" is not for Florentin Smarandache, who from 15 titles could see only two books published at home, with more than 12 years between their issue. Meanwhile, he wasn't allowed to publish here and he took the way of the exile. And this is why today, opening this volume and learning for the first time about Florentin Smarandache the reader of only these 80 haiku discovers a genius poet and is entitled to wonder, who is this poet; what has he written and what is the echo of his other books?
Florentin Smarandache is still young for one who can speak about his biography. At his return home from taking part at the delivery of his latest book, we decided together to publish this volume simultaneously in Romania and the U.S.A. I thought it was necessary to mention here his scientific and literary merits so that especially the Romanian readers would not be found among the last people to learn of the activity of a compatriot so productive in some segments of culture.
Florentin Smarandache was born is 1954, in Bãlcesti (Vâlcea), and he graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Craiova. He worked as programme analyser at IUG Craiova (19791981), teacher at the College in Bãlcesti (19811982), professor at the "Sidi El Hassan Lyoussi" College in Sefrou Marocco (19821984), teacher in mathematics at the "Nicolae Bãlcescu" College in Craiova (19841985)and then at the school in DrãgotestiDolj (19851986); finally he lost his job, earning his living by preparing schoolpeople and students (19861988). From this short sequence of didactic activities during the "golden days" is brought to light an ascendant trajectory followed by an undeserved collapse. One may guess the moment when, being prevented from participating with specialty works at Congresses on mathematics in Canada and California, he openly manifested his discontent and his first sign of disagreement with the totalitarian regime, and as a result of this fact, he lost his job. He could not bear the situation and, in 1988 he managed to cross the border illegally and arrive in Turkey, where he taught French for a year and a half. In 1990 he reached the U.S.A. where he became professor, and passed the Master exams at the University of Tempe, Arizona, under the coordination of Professor Bremmer. He is working now as research engineer at the Honeywell Computers Corporation Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona, where he lives with his family who joined him at the beginning of 1991.
Florentin Smarandache is not a refugee in literature because he has failed in his specialty. He's published four works on mathematics in Fès and Casablanca (Morocco) and Chicago (U.S.A.), over 40 articles in reviews of mathematics in Romania, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, U.S.A. and he has presented works at national and international seminars, colloquies, symposia and congresses in Craiova and Yassy (Romania 1978), Calgary (Canada 1986), Berkeley (1986), Los Angeles (1989), Las Cruces (Mexico 1989). He is the author of the Smarandache Function in the Number Theory [S: Z*->N, S(n) is the smallest integer such that S(n)! is divisible by n] and of other functions, sequences, algebraic structures, geometries, included like other main works in dictionaries, anthologies and encyclopedias of specialty in Great Britain, France, Spain, U.S.A. He is member of the Mathematics Association in Romania (1990), and of the American Association on Mathematics (1983).
The literary debut of Florentin Smarandache took place in 1979 at the "Nãzuinte" ("Aspirations"), Magazine, with the poem "Figures have started vibrating". He continues to publish poems here and there in different literary reviews. In 1980 together with a group of young writers he launched "The Paradoxism". The editorial debut was made by the volume of poems "Formule pentru spirit" (" Formulae for the Spirit" ), Bucharest, Editura " Litera", 1981. In 1983, the volume was translated in French by Chantal Signoret from the University of Provence, appeared in the same year at the " Expres" Printing House, inFès, Marocco. This was followed by Culegere de exercitii poetice (Collection of Poetical Exercises), Fès, Marocco, 1982. Legi de compozitie internã.Poeme cuprobleme (Laws of Internal Composition.Poems with…problems), Fès, Marocco, 1982, all in Romanian, and then, a series of volumes in French: Le sens du nonsens, Fès, Marocco, 1984, containing a nonconformist manifesto for " a new literary movement: the Paradoxism" , Antichambres et Antipoèsies ou bizarreries, Fès, Marocco, 1984, and Le Paradoxisme: un nouveau mouvement littèaire, Bergerac, France 1992. The same year also appeared America, paradisul diavolului (America, the Paradise of the Devil),journal of an emigrant, edited by Editura " Aius" Craiova. The majority of his works were, fully or in part, translated into English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, some of them having a third edition in the U.S.A. The poet has collaborated in literary reviews in Romania, France, Belgium, Turkey, India, Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, Marocco, U.S.A.
He's also been awarded in Romania with literary prizes (1981, 1982) and in France (1990). He was elected as International Eminent Poet by the International Academy of Poets from Madras (India, 1991), and obtained the "Honorary Diploma in Fanciful Poetry" at the Contest of the Academy of Filology and Art, from Périgord (France 1992). His poetry was selected in nine literary anthologies and appeared in Craiova (1980), Caen, Puymeras, Paris, Bordeaux (1989, 1990, 1991), New York, Colorado (1991, 1992), Seul (1991). He also has two journals of emigration, with over 1000 pages and four plays, some of them written for children. One of these, Out in the left Field (Strãin de cauzã) has already been performed on the stage of a theatre in Phoenix (U.S.A.). Hundreds of other poems in manuscript are on the way to printing houses or almost ready to meet their readers.
There is still time until it will say about Florentin Smarandache that his work can't be studied without knowing his life, when it will be analyzed to paraphrase Oscar Wilde how much genius and how much talent were distributed and still can be found in his life and, in his creation. But from these few directions of his literary steps, one can distinguish three: the prose comprising the journal and the plays the paradoxist movement that he promoted, and the poetry.
His published prose in Romania consist only in the book America, the Devil's Paradise journal of emigration covering the period between 23 March 1990, when he left Turkey, and 3 Sept. 1991, a period spent in the U.S.A. It is a severe and instransigent radiography of the space he's lived in, attentively observed by him after the experience gained within the totalitarian system. The journal reveals lived facts, a concrete reality, with quite a few elements of shock, all in a fluent language, with short sentences, written with nerve, reminding us of Hemingway's style. The university professor Ion Rotaru, referring to this work points out that it is "a book of great success, written with a lot of poetic talent and polemic verve, reflecting the bitterness and the out of the ordinary adventures of a young Romanian intellectual who escaped from the communist Romania". "He has the Romanian language, in all its expressivity, in the tip of his nib. The Oltean and the peasant from the bottom of his soul come out to light in a charming way among so many sarcasms and puzzles of the strangered, little, beginner, Panait Istrati" ("Romanian Reality, 1 Sept. 1990).
Concerning the paradoxism and the literary movement promoted by him established in 1983 and definitely led by Florentin Smarandache they have, as an idational basis, concepts and thesis identical or close to those promoted by the modern literary currents, running on the known ways of negation and of vanguard absurd. Having its roots in Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque's cubism, in the cult of creative inconsistence of the futurism of Marinetti, Hlebnicov and G. Govani, in the negation of any link between thought and expression, thesis sustained by the dadaists, such as Tristan Tzara, H. Ball and R. Huelsenbeck, in supearealism, perceived as modern nihilism and consistently practising "the psychical automatism and the order of thought in the absence of any control of the thought" (Jacques Gaucheron), come to the fore at the beginning of this century by André Breton through its manifestos rather than through its poetry but with brilliant characters like R. Desnos, A. Artaud, L. Aragon, P. Eluard, giving birth to currents, schools and poets without some adhesion to a poetical catechism. In our country, Ilarie Voronca, C. Nisipeanu, M. R. Paraschivescu, Ion Vinea had aligned with this current.
After World War II, the West was assaulted by the neovanguard, postmodernism, experimentalism, and all sorts of new schools, like Izidor Isou's lettrism, neodadaism, etc. "In comparison with the great centres in the world, Bucharest was after 1945, the most fertile center of artistical experiences and, dare I say, the most orthodox" (Aurel Dragos Munteanu; Opera si destinul scriitorului, The Writers Work and Destiny, Cartea Româneascã, Bucuresti 1972, pag. 132) here becoming famous poets like Gherasim Luca, Trost the creator of oniromancy Paul Pãun, Ion Caraion, Virgil Teodorescu.
With regard to the paradoxism, the appearance of this movement whose roots were fully watered by the absurb and saturated with contradictions, and paradoxes universe of the late system is not just a name labelling a sort of literary scandal, destined to an ephemeral glory. The essence of paradoxism consists in negation, having on its literary fronticopiece the emblem NON. In the "Nonconformist Manifesto", published in the volume of poems Le sens du nonsens (1983) Florentin Smarandache displays some of the mechanism of paradoxism: excessive contradictory comparisons. Speaking about the literary paradoxist movement, the literary critic Constantin M. Popa reconfirms the possibility to enlarge the literature through negative concepts. "Paradoxism does not intend to destroy literature. It is interested in finding a new writing practice, efficient and tensioned, preserving the energy resulting from the touch of opposite semantic fields. But the impact will be always unforeseeable (...). The paradigm of negation becomes literary object because everything (…) falls back in literature. It is an unavoidable paradox…"
Paradoxism is then " the belief that into the space of the poem can enter everything (…) a literature «disappears» while it is still being written the paradoxists experimenting with lucidity the tragical consequences of the language discrimination" (The Literary Paradoxist Movement; Xiquan Publishing House, PhoenixChicago, 1992).
"Studying the negativist attitude within literature" one can observe that "the paradoxism existed before the statuation of the paradoxist movement" (C.M. Popa;q.w.). The series of paradoxist poets is formed according to the same author by Urmuz, Mihail Cosma (Claude Sernet), friend of Marinetti, Geo Bogza, Tascu Gheorghiu, Gelu Naum, Nichita Stãnescu, Marin Sorescu, adds also Leonid Dima, Emil Brumaru.
Florentin Smarandache launched the Paradoxism not only by a manifesto. He also brought in the patrimony of The Movement from its very beginning three volumes of poetry, spread all over the world, knowing a large echo. The Literary Paradoxist Movement has representatives in the literatures from Romania, France, Belguim, Canada, U.S.A., U.K., Germany, Spain, Poland, Brasil, Marocco, Camerun. Radiographing his volumes of poetry, suggestively entitled Nonpoems, Formulae for the Spirit, The Sense of the nonsens, and others, we discover a poem where contradictions, associations, contrasts, oximoron, and paradox are in the best company. "At the Birth of a Demise", "The Insolent Politeness", "At the Height of the Fall", "The Practice of the Theory", "Breakfast of Illusions", "Indigeste Poem of Digestion" are some titles of poems which surprise the lectures; they not only leave the reader "perplexed, shocked, and undecided" but they also "make the brain vibrate" (Robert Chasseneuil Member of "Art and Poetry of Touraine" France). Here is an example of most "innocent" of his poems, called "Lesson of Philosophy", "It is raining and the Saints are rotting in churches/at the windows the thought/flap the wings//Let's then come to philosophical/meditations close the eyes and let's go/ Anyone is smaller than oneself//To be, is it a projection into infinite?//We are of negligible size, but we want/ each, to be a bigger nothing//The void is the emptiest emptiness//I have an "I have not" of my own//the rain raps rythmetically/like the blood/waters are running to the future.
The titles of the poems as well as the philosophical "thesis" from this poem are significant examples for the poet's propensity for bringing in light contradictions, antithesis, paradoxes; as well as mastering the skill of essentialized expressions, which makes him a potential poet of short poems, either for haiku or even for poem in a single verse.
For the reader who learns for the first time about the haiku, we consider it necessary to open a parenthesis, in order to explain some useful notions before reading the poems.
The haiku micropoem, of Japanese origin, is a species of poetry with fixed form, which is characterized by three groups of rules: Prozodical, structural, and aesthetical ones. On the prozodic aspect, the haiku is a tristich with 17 syllables as a whole, distributed in three lines by the rule 575. Structurally, the tristich must comprise kigo, a word indicating the season of action of the topic and the answers to the triad of questions when?, what?, where?; it must havekireji, that is a cesura after the first or the second line, indicated by a punctuation mark, (hyphen, colon, semicolon, full stop, etc.) and finally, it must end by a noun. In an aesthetic point of view, the haiku has plenty of rules which call for a thorough study (see the work Interferente lirice Constelatia haiku / Lyrical Interpenetrations The Haiku Constellation by Florin Vasiliu and Brândusa Steiciuc, Editura Dacia, ClujNapoca, 1989, and the HAIKU Magazine). We mention here some of the most important rules.
The fundamental rule which lays the basis of the haiku creation is that the topic of any haiku is nature. The haiku pulls out its sap from the phenomenology of nature. The haijin the poet of haiku poems is a subtle and skilled observer of the universe of events and facts to which he is a surprised witness of the whole surrounding phenomena, of those single moments that have address exclusively the sensibility of a poet, a unique phenomenon that he transposes within poetical expression. As Otsuji, a theoretician of the haiku poetry said, "the artist's own nature and the environment melt together in the haiku". One of the essential conditions of the haiku aesthetics consists in the fact that the micropoem is the result of an unique experience, expressed through "the image that speaks". By its shortness, the haiku enforces the rendering of "normal, unemotional things, linking flat intervals from among intense moments", from which results a poem, "a concentrated elixir of pure essense" (Sir Arthur QuillerCouch).
A second rule of the haiku aesthetics, directly connected to the first, imposes the empirical reality that "should be immediately «caught» by the poet, in its dynamic impulse"…each event of the contact between creative subject object, taking place once for all and lasting only a moment, then "disappearing without any trace". Stanca Cionca Romanian Nipponologist states that "the haiku school is a science of image concentration within the detail, fragmentary":
"How a trouble thing!
on the path of the mountain
a poor violet".
Emil Eugen Pop another Romanian Nipponologist considers the haiku as " syllables that give the measure of the step with which the haijin wanders through the world, namely through himself".
A third aesthetic rule of haiku sends us to the mushin concept, with the sense of "without spirit" originated in the daoist void considered as substance, like the emptiness of a container that obliges the matter to take its inner form, or like the space between the spokes of a wheel, that makes the wheel and elbows its way". …the things put into evidence the empty place that they sustain as well as the few words of a haiku put in evidence the silence from which they took birth and to which they return" (Andrei Plesu: Pitoresc si melancolie / Picturesque and melancholy, Ed. Univers, 1980, p. 173). This aesthetical concept may be often found in haiku by the absence of the things covered and hidden in the atmosphere of mist, by the state of evanescence that dominates them, like in this haiku:
"Waves are hummingly coming,
but neither a boat,
nor a seagull".
Vasile Moldovan (The Romanian Haiku Society Bucharest cercle).
The fourth aesthetic important rule is defined by the pair of terms ryûkõfueki, meaning temporary / everlasting, ephemeral / eternal. They are contradictory concepts which must be present within the poem, balancing one part of the haiku, dominated by the phenomenal instability, with the other part, mastered by the nonphenomenal constancy, both equal but opposed as creative phenomenal articulations.
"The old pond
A frog plunged.
The sound of water."
In this famous and long commented Bashõ's poem, the first line evokes through the word old, the oldness, and through pond, the eternity while the frog's jump calls forth the ephemerality, and the sound of the water, opposed to the eternal quietness of the pond, presumes movement, life. These elements settle "…the sense of the poem and a part of its virtue to cling to the opposition between the adjective, old, and the noun, sound" (Etiemble, "Sur la traduction du «haiku»" / "About the translation of haiku", In Cahiers roumains d'études littéraires, 1/1976, p. 42).
Another important aesthetical rule is based on the pair of terms wabi/sabi, with meaning close to loneliness, melancholy, dismay, concept used in connection with the beauty of daily life / solitude, time lapse, time patina, terms used with reference to the aesthetical aspect of literature.
"Escaped from spinney
in watery lily lives
The haiku appeared within the Nippon literature in the 17th century, presently existing in Japan in over ten associations of haiku, each with one thousand published over one million haiku. There are annual contests organized and prizes awarded. The micropoem entered Europe at the end of the last century and it was adopted by prestigious names of universal literature: Ghiorghios Seferis (The Nobel Prize in 1963), Octavio Paz (The Nobel Prize in 1991), Ezra Pound, Giuseppe Ungaretti, T.W. Home, Antonio Machado, F.S. Flint, Allen Gingsberg, W.S. Merwin, Kenneth Yasuda, Donald Eulert who was, until 1974, lecturer of American Literature at The "A.L.I.Cuza" University from Yassy (Romania). In Romania, the haiku was introduced in the fourth decade of this century by the poets Al.T. Stamatiad and Traian Chelariu and it was cultivated by poets like Stefan Baciu, Aurel George Stino, Nichita Stãnescu, Stefan Augustin Doinas, Marin Sorescu, Aurel Rãu, Gheorghe Tomozei, Veronica Porumbacu, Toma George Maiorescu, Gh. Grigurcu, Bazil Gruia, Vasile Igna, Gligor Sava, Vasile Smãrãndescu (with a book of haiku, Carte Însiguratã, Solitary Book, in the Haiku Magazine Collection), Nicolae Alexandru Vest, Eugenia Bogdan, Virgil Bulat, Liliana Grãdinaru and others.
During the preparation of the work Interferente lirice Constelatia haiku / Lyrical Interpenetration Haiku Constellation, we discovered in Romanian literary reviews, new names from the period 19701989, a new wave of authors who sign haiku, many poets coming from literary clubs, and not a few, beginners. The political changes that took place in Romania at the fall of 1989 permitted us to publish even from beginning of the year 1990, The HAIKU Magazine of Cultural Romanian Japanese Interpenetrations, that publishes in every issue hundreds of translated and genuine haiku, many of the Romanian ones are presented also in English and in French.
Florentin Smarandache is an authentic poet of haiku, whom we present also to the English and French speaking readers through the version of Miss Rodica Stefãnescu and the poet Stefan Benea. This booklet, called Clopotul tãcerii, The Silence's Bell after a metaphor taken from a haiku, suggestive of the "noise" created by the big bell as figurative acceptance of the haiku, whose bigbang is rather silence consumed during the reading of the 17 syllables being different among both the haiku and the lines.
It is worth mentioning that the majority of the haiku 52 poems respectively 64.2% have less than 17 syllables, a fact rarely met by the poets of haiku, who usually overtake this norm a little for reasons easy to understand. This brings to light a clear characteristic of the poet to whom eloquence and rhetoric are strange of setting his poem under the sign of lapidary poetical expression, of direct confession. This proves also that the poet does not turn back to work his first formulated poetical expression. Unlike the poetry with rhythm and rhyme, the poetry with fixed form, where it is supposed there are two moments, one of conception and one of execution, the application of the prozodic rules permitting the perception of a distance between the initial poetical thought and its final expression, making possible the distinction between "the reality of the thought" and the reality of the effects" (Paul Valery), Florentin Smarandache sets his words into the line fixed with the mortar of expression, without any subsequent change in its structure. The poet does not defy the norms; total liberty is his norm. Therefore, he is allowed to compose haiku with nine and 21 syllables.
The poet's inclination toward a type of poem much shorter than a haiku gave us determination to enter more deeply into the structure of his poem. This has led us to identify two types of poems in Florentin Smarandache's poetry. On the one hand is the genuine haiku, like the following example:
Pe dealuri bãtrône "Up on the old hills
zvon de vite rumor of many cattle
cu ugere moi." with tender udders."
"Stropi cad pe asfalt "Drops fall on asphalt
ca nis te grenade. Like certain little grenades.
Plouã la plus infinit. Rains at endless plus."
"Ca o fatã lãtâie "Like a ninny girl,
seara cade În genunchi the evening falls on its knees
lâng ã geam." next to the window."
On the other hand is another type of poem, of which contents, spirit, and structure put it among the one verse poems, whose creator was Ion Pillat. It is a type of poem of 13 or 14 syllables, built on iambs, thus with compulsory metrics, full of beauty and grace, generated by the moments of torture and feast of the creation, a poem very close to the European spirit. Pillat tells us that he noticed the one line poem in some of Victor Hugo's verses, which could be isolated and allowed to be independent of the context, but within the myrialitic space, i.e. in the Romanian soul. Florentin Smarandache writes poetry in tristich, respectively haiku. He is unaware that sometimes he is not closer to but farther from the difficult spirit of the Nippon poetry and aesthetics. He is right on the native soil of the oneline poem, which was lacking in the Romanian literature, from its appearance in 1936, when it appeared in the third volume of Ion Pillat's works, where also are included his oneline poems. It is very possible that the poet, out of a job and struggling hard for a living, wouldn't have had the opportunity to find out about this.
Here there are some examples from his poems which are oneline poems rather than haikus:
"Ne ia usor zefirul pe nesimtite coarne."
"The zephir takes us easily onto the quiet horns."
"Izbuncnesc salcâmii În hohote de muguri."
"The acacias burst into a guffaw of buds."
"Blajini cocori aduc pe aripã cãldura."
"Kindly cranes bring the warmth on their wings."
"Ariniisi pleacã la pãmânt, capul greu de somn."
"The alders incline to ground their sleepy heavy heads."
It is an advantage for the poetry to recognize the oneline poem, and if Florentin Smarandache, with his gift , cultivated this species, he could offer us very soon a bunch of precious flowers that may place him among Ion Pillat's worthy sucessors of this type of poem; among names like Lucian Blaga, Virgil Teodorescu, Bazil Gruia, Ion Brad, Grigore Bieru, Gheorghe Grigurcu, Ion Serebreanu, Nicolae Tatomir, Lazãr Cerescu, Valeriu Bucurescu, Ion N. Daia and Geo Bogza, and also others.
The topics tackled in the poems respect the fundamental rule of haiku, being extended on a large scale by the elements of nature in all its diversity. The poet awakened by the dawn goes out in his country yard (rarely do the street and the town appear) and then wanders the lanes of his village. There it…is where he acquires the subjects like; the sun, the field, the flowers snowdrops and hollow worts the path, the trees acacias, pines, poplars, alders, limes the blue sky, the birds the nightingale, the cranes, the herons, the eagles the peasants, the hills with cows, the corn, the bell, Alp horn, the vineyard, the wine, the heart, the thought, the violins, the music, the dance, the longing, the evening, the stars, the moon, the lovers, the clouds, the rain, the wind, the pain, the death these are the poet's predilected topics. In these concentrated flowers is almost everything that we find in hundreds of haiku of the great classical Japanese poets of haiku. In all his haiku the poet is strongly anchored in reality, knowing the Nippon lesson that "without reality there is not haiku." He also respects and totally or partially applies the rule of "time space object":
"Fragezi ghiocei WHAT? "Fresh snowdrops
trag de sub zãp adã WHERE? pull under the snow
primãvara." WHEN? the spring."
Blajini cocori aduc WHEN? The kindly cranes bring
Pe aripã WHERE? on their wings
cãldurã" WHAT? the warmth."
In this haiku the spring and the cranes are not grammatical answers to the question WHAT?, but to WHEN?. The terms of the answer structurally define the season in which the action takes place and constitute the kigo.
Let's try to enter into the intimacy of the poems and the arsenal of Florentin Smarandache's poetic means. The 80 haiku are grouped in seasons: Spring with 12 haiku, Summer with 28, Autumn with 25 and Winter with 15. In this group of haiku, poems are on topics directly linked to nature, others have a reflective character, within which the author thinks through images of great expression.
The poet begins his book and the chapter about Springtime by discovering himself as captured by time: a simple glance under the sign of observing or maybe his revelation of significance? We can't know:
"Timpul deschide "The Time opens
fereastra unei clipe the window of an instant
s Î se uitã la mine." under the dawn's bell."
Seemingly in reply to the question mark put by time comes the answer in his own introduction:
"Tinâr sunt, "I am a young,
ca un ÎncepuÎ like a beginning
sub cloptul rãsãr itului." under the dawn's bell."
The triad, young beginning dawn, represents the shout of an age that has to bring a message into the world, for which the dawn's bell also sounds.
Then the poet proudly enters the season, so it seems, that he wanted us to recognize at the beginning of the book assisting in the birth process of nature. But he does not contemplate nature, he only discovers its secret processes, telling us how the spring comes and how the Zephyr wanders through the world, how the fields show their hunger, how the shoots grow, how the cranes come, and how the acacias laugh. Florentin Smarandache has under his glance the same spring time seen by Alecsandri, but in which the passing "from the things' heart to one's own heart" happened with a different code, specific for his lab of creation, with which he will operate the whole work. In the course of analysis, we'll try to decipher his code and if we suceed, we'll see also the difference of poetical sense between the classical, lyrical descriptive poem and the one cultivated by the poet.
Beginning with the 9th haiku, the poet starts to share with us some of his thoughts, but he doesn't make it with the teminology specific to the domain, but borrows concepts from the property of nature's stage. Because he isn't concerned with an idea, but himself:
"Zbârnâie gãargãunii "Hornets are buzzing
ai unui gând." thoughts."
The summer is rich in poems proving how much poetry could be concentrated in these 17 syllables of a haiku:
"Satingi cu fruntea "Touching with brow
diminetii in morning
cântecul privighetorii." the nightingale's song."
"Diafane mirosuri, "Diaphanous scents,
prin lunci overspread through the meadows,
Î s i cautã floarea." look for their flowers."
Zãresc tãrani "I catch sight of peasants
În carul cel lung s i mare in the long and great cart
al cerului." of the blackish sky."
Onlookers are attracted by the mirage of hazard, by the miracle of changes, in whose texture is disclosed the accents that slip to the common eye; the poet sees how: "the springs spout"from the bird's song, how "…torpid,…the sun is frozen / and gazes immovable," he realizes the tiredness of the acacias "within the liquid warmth of the summer," he hears a "rumination of cows…on old hills," he feels how "the stars seethe" in the "blue blood / from the sky,"meanwhile, somewhere in the village "a burning street lamp / strikes with the light / the fence."
Not richless in aestheticism the third season is looking:
"Toamna piteazã stins "The fall paints lusterless
strig ãtul florilor the shout of the dried flowers
adormite." Like sleeping puppets."
As we presume, living abroad for over five years, the poet composes his poems from remembrances, from reminiscences of usual things, from actual images, analogies of situations similar to those lived at home, offering himself the sensation of the continuity of his presence on the natal earth, proving to us his strong anchorage within the Romanian reality. A single empty bench, seen nowhere, permits him to build a scene in absence:
"Pe o bancã lâng ã lac "On a bench near the lake,
un sãr ut a kiss
sindrãgostitii nicãieri." lovers are absent."
The poet is witness to the flowers' fading, to the birds' leaving; but, from us, he sees all the field of ripened corn in a different way from us: " / light the lanterns / under their arms."Wven if in Arizona the lime trees turn to yellow, the poet writes about "the Eminent limes / in pale hemorrhages / of leaves," and when "…the wind blows / …the trees / turn their backs to me." He himself recognizes that "The wine / drops in the glasses / rememberences," and sometimes, when "Through the night's mud / the stars walk in boots," I again "Open a bottle / full of morose / desires."
The winter begins with a haiku of high day:
"Rege pe strãzi "King in the streets,
Crivã tul The north wind
Cu buzunarele goale." with empty pockets."
The majority of the haiku from this season are situated in the area of personal reflections, confessions about things, where we may find out that "The violins pass / the strings / through our ears",or how "At the window / the light hangs heavy / of the lamp," but there are also his memories. But this time it is tired. "But I run / I run / to catch by hand / the time," a feeling that time took advantage of him; still more he feels how "Fall the curtain / like a heavy night / of December." But he ends the volume on an optimistic note:
"Sã nu mã asteptati, "Don't wait for me,
voi Întârzia putin I'll linger a little
printre stele." among the stars."
as if willing to remind us the function of a passionate dreamer explicitly underlined just in this haiku and that returning from there he will offer us the next volume of haiku.
The reading of these haiku gave us the occasion to discover a poet who made the surrounding nature his faithful muse, his lyre being tuned to its shades and its vibration frequency. We notice also how the poet is intrumenting the second fundamental law of the haiku, whereafter the reality is «captured»in its cruel instance, avoiding the inferior step of description, operating with the superior one, that of things' nominalization. And if this nominalization is made in metaphor, allegory, comparison, metonymy, there is no doubt that this is his primary language, of the "reality of thought" above mentioned where the flower of speech has its queen and where it occurs in poetical notation, with the ease of current utterance.
Here in the haiku, Florentin Smarandache employs a perceptive style, marked by the lyrical seal of the paradoxism guffaws of buds, snakes of light, toothless smile, shout of flowers, silence of bells, the night's mud somehow mitigated by the laws of the lyrism of this species of poetry, but not to the extent of forgetting the silver law of the micropoem fueki / ryûkõ= eternal / ephemeral omnipresent in the majority of his poems: the time / myself, the clouds, the sea / the bird, the universe / breeze, infinite / rain, desert / flowers, stars / mud, etc.
In this volume are flowers full of images of a surprising freshness, with the origin in a reality caught in its pure nudity by the look of a reporter having the touch of a sword of the sharpness and lucidity transfigured into poetical expression through the grill of a rhapsody which penetrates the cosmos of words, masters the alchemy of the languagekeeping apart from the oxides and working with modern, cyclic complexes of the language, so coming without any difficulty to the essence of the poetics.
His haiku is still a successful test of this variety of Nippon poetry, within the Romanian creation, at the crossing point with the oneline poem, and Florentin Smarandache enters the circuit of the poets of haiku by the front door. This volume gives ground to the hope that the poet will raise the level of his own poem to his own benefit and to poetry in general. Editura Haiku (The Haiku Publishing House from Romania and the Xiquan Publishing House from U.S.A.) which prepared this volume to be printed, gave an extra chance, by making it accessible to readers in English and in French. The endeavor to render the poems and the foreword, from the Romanian version into both languages, as faithfully as possible, along with the responsibility for the faults belong to Mrs. Rodica Stefãnescu, editor of the Haiku Magazine, and Mr. Stefan Benea, poet, member of Romanian Haiku Society.
Bucuresti, 31st December 1992.