Green Integer Series No.: 19
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My Tired Father/Pohem
Gellu Naum Translated from the Romanian by James Brook
with an Interview with the Author by the Translator
First published in Romania in 1972, My Tired Father is an autobiographical collage, an assisted cut-up. In words and diction lifted from old books and popular magazines, Naum demonstrates that desire is a constructive principle—and that the spirit of Surrealism is not reducible to a period style or rhetoric.
Born in Bucharest in 1915, Gellu Naum was a central figure in Romanian Surrealism before the Second World War. Closely linked with the painter Victor Brauner, Naum collaborated with Jacques Hérold, Gherasim Luca, Paul Paun, Dolfi Trost, Virgil Teodorescu, and Perahim, among others, in pursuing the Surrealist adventure in Paris and Bucharest.
At the beginning of the war, Naum settled in Romania, where he was instrumental in organizing clandestine Surrealist activities in difficult personal circumstances under the fascist regime. At war's end the Romanian Surrealist group emerged and flourished briefly before its suppression by Stalinist authorities; Naum published several books of poems in this period, including the first book of poetry published in Romania after the war, The Corridor of Power.
In 1947 Naum's The White of the Bone was rejected by the censors, and for the next twenty years he was permitted to publish only children's books and translations. In recent years many new books have appeared, including Zenobia in 1985.
Poet, translator and editor James Brook lives in San Francisco. He has translated works by Guy Debord, Benjamin Péret, Henri Michaux, Alberto Savinio, Victor Serge, and Sebastian Reichmann. With Sasha Vlad he translated Zenobia in 1995.