Poetess Nina Cassian dies, 89 years old


Poetess Nina Cassian died on Tuesday at the age of 89 in New York, said sources close to her family, quoted by Mediafax. Nina Cassian died following a cardiac arrest. Her demise was “peaceful,” at her home, according to the quoted sources. The memorial service will take place on Monday, April 21 at 3 pm (local hour) at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York. Nina Cassian, nee Renee Annie Cassian, was born on November 27, 1924 in Galati and had been living for a long time in New York (US).
As a visiting professor of creative writing at New York University in 1985, Cassian was awarded both a Yaddo Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. Later that year, Cassian was informed that a long-time friend, Gheorghe Ursu, had been arrested for keeping a political diary, a diary that contained unpermitted, satirical pieces written by Cassian. Ursu died as a result of injuries sustained during his interrogation. Cassian subsequently received political asylum in the United States.
Well-known poet, playwright, short story writer, illustrator, composer, journalist, critic, and translator, Cassian was regarded as one of Romania’s most prominent literary figures. According to www.notes.com , Cassian has created a large and varied body of work, the main concern of which is passion: passion as desire and passion as suffering. Cassian’s poems are marked especially by their physicality.
Nina Cassian was an editor with Rampa (1947-48) and Urzica (1949), a teacher at the Mihai Eminescu School of Literature. She made her debut in 1945, in ‘Romania libera’ newspaper, with the poem titled ‘I Was a Decadent Poet.’ Her first book in an avant-garde vein, ‘1/1 Scale,’ is published in 1947.
In the next years the poet gave in to the ideological pressure of the time and wrote proletcultist poems: ‘Our Soul’ and ‘A Living Year – Nine Hundred and Seventeen’ (1949), ‘Youth’ (1953), ‘The Homeland’s Flowers’ (1954), ‘Selected Verse’ (1955). After 1957 she comes back to a genuine lyricism and publishes the books titled ‘Man’s Ages,’ ‘The Dialogue of the Wind with the Sea’ (1957), ‘Daily Festivals’ (1961), ‘Ambit’ (1969), ‘Lotto-Poems’ (1972).
She wrote numerous books for children, the best known being ‘Fearless Nica’ (1950). She translated from Vladimir Mayakovsky, Moliere and Heinrich Heine. She wrote vocal and instrumental music, she also wrote plays for the puppet theatre.

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