Andra Rotaru

Translated by Florin Bican
ISBN 978-0-900575-76-1 | 90 pp, $12 | May 15, 2018

the morning ritual, when the knees gathered to
the mouth
are fragrant with milk.
at the same time the hair overflows, covers up.
its contact with another’s body.

Lemur speaks of the grotesque and mutable grace of the body. Lemur scalds the page and, in so doing, proposes a bold choreography—one of dis-membering and re-membering the human into a new species. In this space, and on this stage, charges of abundance, overflow and fear electrify a milky symbology. The humor of Lemur is one of sinister relationality, sheer proximity, mutability — a dwelling-in-waste. This dwelling reminds us that our bodies already relate to one another in waste, and that what we long for—to be discarnate—is futile. On the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, Andra Rotaru’s English-language debut fuses the lyric gesture with a Gothic science fiction which bends and distorts syntax and hierarchy, opening up an ethical horizon of mutancy: a body in delay/foretelling a body unformed.


“It takes me six voices to read your texts: I let out of myself a director, an actor, two dancers, a philosopher and a monk. I spot you in the audience, laughing. The book giving scope to such poetically-vibrant moves could be rolled up, shoved into 250 brown bottles and launched into the Atlantic. A nude committee waving purple flags is waiting in New York to pick them up.”

— Andrei Codrescu


Andra Rotaru is a poet and the founder of the multimedial and multilingual journal Crevice. Her dance performance Lemur has been performed in the US and across Europe together with the choreographer Robert Tyree. She has worked extensively at the intersection of poetry, fiction, photography, video and performance. She is the author of Într-un pat sub cearșaful alb (In a Bed Under the White Sheet, 2005); En una cama bajo la sábana blanca (the Spanish translation of her debut volume, 2008); Ținuturile sudului (Southern Lands, 2010); and Lemur (2012). Rotaru was awarded The Best Young Poet of Year Award at The Writers’ Gala in Bucharest (2013) for Lemur. A selection of her poems in Anca Roncea`s translation won Asymptote`s Close Approximations Prize in 2017 (judged by Sawako Nakayasu).


Florin Bican studied English at the University of Bucharest, Romania, where he became a compulsive translator of Romanian literature. His translations have been published in Britain, Ireland, the United States, Singapore and Romania. His translations from English into Romanian include Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark and T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. When not translating, Bican writes articles for British and American magazines and works on subversive children’s literature. His first volume of poetry, A Slob’s Treasury of Verse (Bucharest, 2007), is a collection of politically incorrect cautionary rhymes. His work- in-progress, Torpid Tropics, is an attempt at cautionary prose, and just as politically incorrect. In 2009 he edited and contributed to The Cook-a-Book Pancyclopedia of Texts and Images, an anthology of Romanian children’s literature. From 2006 onwards, Bican was in charge of the Romanian Cultural Institute program Translators in the Making, training foreign students to translate Romanian literature into their respective languages, until the program collapsed under government pressure. In May 2013, he published his second volume of unorthodox children’s poetry The Recyclopedia of Rhyming Nonsense.