|BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
|Publication Date: March 9, 2016
Paperback, 148 pages
Booksellers: Available from
Small Press Distribution
Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet, editor, and
translator who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems
and translations have appeared in numerous journals and
anthologies from the U.S., Europe, Australia, and New
Zealand, such as Field, New Letters, 5 a.m., Meridian,
Word Riot, Going Down Swinging, The Lake, Cutthroat,
Apple Valley Review, Green Mountains Review,
International Poetry Review, Ascent, Connotation Press,
protestpoems.org, Mudfish, The Dirty Goat, Harpur
Palate, Contrary Magazine, Poets & Artists, and many
An eight-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and a
four-time nominee for Best of the Net, Serea is the author
of the full-length poetry collections Angels & Beasts
Like King George III's apocryphal diary entry from July 4, 1776 from which this
book takes its title, these poems remind us that it is only from the perspective of time
and distance that we come to understand what is truly important in life. The life of
poet Claudia Serea has taken her from the streets of Bucharest during the bloody
overthrow of the Ceausescu regime through the experience of an immigrant in New
York City and the tension and tangle of traveling back and forth between her native
Romania and her newfound home in New Jersey, a life lived on the boundary
between two lands, two languages, two cultures. And like the simple clothesline on
the cover that in one poem relates a tragedy and in another the exquisite beauty of
the mundane, Serea's wondrously observant verse celebrates the potential in each
moment, the revolutionary act of merely being alive.
Praise for Claudia Serea's Nothing Important Happened Today:
"Readers are stepping into wry, lovely, and sometimes even tragic territory when
they embark upon Claudia Serea’s new poetry collection, Nothing Important
Happened Today. The idea of an 'extraordinary ordinary' pervades, beginning with
the very first poem: 'I part the night with both hands . . . Light moves across lawns,
/over hydrangeas, zinnias, and yews . . . tangles in curtains/and hangs in hair./This
ray has traveled 93 million miles/only to find/your unshaven face.' The idea that
illumination is looking for us, and that it may arrive in unexpected (even undesired)
forms, is an underpinning for many of the poems. But there is another extraordinary
ordinary pervading the work, and that is the daily life of a Romanian citizen in
December 1989, the month that saw the execution by firing squad of Nicolae and
Elena Ceausescu. After that horror, there is hope: 'At noon, the radio will say how
deep is the Danube/in Romanian, Russian, and French,/and Grandma will wait on
the porch,/chicken soup ready,/beds made./And the road will be long,/summer short,
/perfect fishing weather/on its way.' In the section 'The Greatest City on Earth,'
readers are presented with the extraordinarily ordinary New York, post 9-11:
'. . .beautiful, carnivorous city . . . Take my life and bury it/inside your towers,/
and bloom on Top of the Rock/a vivid flower.' Serea presents New York to us like
Marina Tsvetaeva presented Moscow to Osip Mandelstam in the second part of her
1916 poem, 'Verses About Moscow.' In both poems, the deliciousness one savors
when tasting the city is tinged with the bitterness of uncertainty; it is on that fulcrum
that many of Serea’s poems pivot and come to rest. Reading her beautifully crafted
work, you may often feel like the images were being delivered directly to you, as a
gift of light, from light. And you’d be right."
—Sharon Mesmer, author of Greetings from My Girlie Leisure Place
"Claudia Serea's Nothing Important Happened Today might echo Auden's famous
assertion about how poetry survives in the valley of its own making, but in this case,
quotidian life encompasses everything from mortality and immigration to the merest
crumble of cinnamon bark. Serea masterfully takes us from a dictatorship in
Romania to the green pastures and blind neon signs of Times Square, from Orion's
belt to a Buick dealership in East Rutherford, her poems illuminated by a character-
istic grace and a paradoxical gentleness fierce in its intensity of perception.
'Danube, Danube,' one of the poem strums, 'this song is for you and me'; how lucky
we are to be part of this sublime and flowing music."
—Ravi Shankar, Pushcart Prize winning poet and
Founding Editor of Drunken Boat
"A lovely freshness and a lyric frankness direct this collection as it acknowledges
the imperatives of history, on the one hand, and the irrepressibility of the present
moment, on the other—finding the light, the life, in both. As its title indicates, it
offers an occasion to reconsider our priorities and to focus on the intricacies and
intimacies that we often pass over. It’s a text built of the complexities of a life that
has traveled from communist-era Bucharest to post-9/11 New York; its humanity is
irrepressible—and so generously shared."
—Cole Swensen, author of Noise That Stays Noise
Click here to read an excellent and extensive review of Claudia Serea's poetry collection
Nothing Important Happened Today by Eric Norris on the Singapore Poetry website.
(Phoenicia Publishing, Canada, 2012), A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House
Publishing, Canada, 2013), To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervená Barva Press, 2015) and
Nothing Important Happened Today (Broadstone Books, 2016). She also published the
chapbooks The Russian Hat (White Knuckles Press, 2014), The System (Cold Hub Press,
New Zealand, 2012), With the Strike of a Match (White Knuckles Press, 2011), and
Eternity’s Orthography (Finishing Line Press, 2007).
Together with Paul Doru Mugur and Adam J. Sorkin, Serea co-edited and co-translated
The Vanishing Point That Whistles, an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Poetry
(Talisman House Publishing, 2011). She also translated from the Romanian Adina Dabija’s
Beautybeast (Northshore Press, Alaska, 2012). In 2012, Serea co-founded and she currently
edits National Translation Month.
Claudia Serea belongs to the poetry group The Red Wheelbarrow Poets and is one of the
curators of the Williams Poetry Readings at the Williams Center in Rutherford, New Jersey.
She writes on her commute between New Jersey and New York.