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ATINGEREA. Calatorii interioare si drumuri in afara

Volumul alatura eseuri despre dinamica lumii de azi, despre alienare, singuratate si depresie, explorand dimensiuni existentiale in cautare de echilibru si salvare spirituala.

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POTI SA FUGI IN PAPUCI DE TURTE DULCI?
Poezii pentru copii mari, mici si mijlocii

Cuvântul și Imaginea trăiesc într-o simbioză surprinzătoare, asemeni Vieții și Visului, se redefinesc continuu și împreună își propun să creeze un univers al libertății totale, un univers împăcat, al iubirii și speranței. O carte inedită, un manifesto pentru copii de toate vârstele, un apel la imaginație și empatie, un remediu împotriva singurătății, fricii, absurdului, o terapie prin magia copilăriei salvate sau regăsite în poezie, imagine și poveste.

„Acest ghid prin sensurile niciodată pierdute ale copilăriei este o comoară... Este un măr din grădina ascunsă, o pasăre cu pene de veșnicie, un cer în care Micul Prinț zboară, o mare cu valuri line din St. John Perse, adunate aici cu fericire și oferite cu instrucțiuni spre a fi trăite. Arta Oanei Maria Cajal completează poeziile multi-dimensionale ale lui Carmen Firan într-o colaborare cu ceva încă nevăzut, o mină de aur. O carte aparte, – poate să fie animată, dramatizată, filmată și iubită, merită să fie extinsă și răspândită – o să delecteze generații!“ Andrei Codrescu

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INTERVIEWS AND ENCOUNTERS - Nina Cassian Carmen Firan

“Eavesdropping on this conversation between two brilliant women feels deliciously indecent. The elder, famous on two continents for her poetry and her dazzling life, plays and spars with the younger, but no less knowing, poet, in a fiery exchange on politics, love, letters, languages, and beliefs. Tolerant of each other’s differences, and deeply empathic for one another’s feelings, they create a lasting Figure of Friendship.”

Andrei Codrescu

Romanian Sapphos
There is also an anthology of the favorite poems of each poet, many not previously published, as well as other tragic and comic literary surprises in this nothing-like-it book.

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JUDECATA - Adrian Sangeorzan vs. Carmen Firan

Dialogul dintre cei doi scriitori e fascinant fiindca e arhetipal: între „barbat“ (nu în sensul de „mascul“, dar în dorinta de exactitate si domesticitate) si „femeie“ (în sensul de val, de curgere, de schimbare, de trecere). Foarte bine construit de amândoi este si „cazul“. Atitudinea judecatorului e geniala: în lumea „reala“ el este Dumnezeu: judeca. Dar nu-i sigur. Procesul de idei se încheie interesant, facându-l pe judecator spectator la polemica celor doi, ca un zeu grec privind muritorii în apa, dar nu olimpian sau detasat. Un dialog filosofic si despre plictiseala casniciei si chinurile rutinei. O poveste foarte faina, adevarata, si o poveste despre povesti, teseala, urzeala..., dar si despre nevoia de ciocnire si convertirea ei în cuvinte, atractia luptei si fuga de ea. Cam ca noi toti... O lectura incitanta care da de gândit.

Andrei Codrescu
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TIMP IN DOI

Teatrul scris de Carmen Firan are ca tema relatia în cuplu, rolul creatiei în depasirea spaimei de moarte, angoasa trecerii timpului si superba aventura existentiala privite cu întelepciune si umor. Personajele ei traiesc intens bogatia vietii, cu toata tristetea si maretia ei, încercând sa înteleaga sensuri si sa forteze limite; personaje nelinistite, dilematice, provocându-ti soarta, cu constiinta desertaciunii dar si a miracolului, etern ratacitori în Marea Calatorie careia îi gasesc neasteptate oaze spirituale.

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DIALOGUL VANTULUI CU MAREA
Nina Cassian in conversatie cu Carmen Firan

In vreme ce tara noastra continua sa-si bata capul, rautacios si superficial, cu intrebarea daca a fost sau n-a fost comunista, cei mai alesi reprezentanti ai lumii literare americane se intrec in omagii tulburatoare aduse poetei recent disparute. „Nina Cassian a fost o artista sublima, ca Sappho, poeta a adancimilor pasionate si a marilor inaltimi” scrie Edward Hirsch, Decanul Academiei Poetilor Americani si Presedintele Fundatiei Guggenheim pe coperta cartii superbe realizate de scriitoarea Carmen Firan, volum pe care il recomanda si Alice Quinn, Director Executiv, Poetry Society of America: „Doua poete se joaca atingand profunzimi intr-un dialog savuros, uneori incendiar. Frumusetea reiese din sinceritate si din eleganta punerii in scena pentru a reda postura Ninei Cassian – poeta absolut remarcabila, cu care voi continua si eu sa vorbesc pentru tot restul vietii”.

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DREPTUL LA FERICIRE. NUVELE SI POVESTIRI

O carte de înalt nivel artistic, cuprinzând o trecere în revista a problematicii revolutiei române, si vorbind despre complicata si interesanta viata a auto-exilatilor români.

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SERTARUL CU ALBINE

"Întâlnirea amoroasă – subiect frecvent al poemelor, ca şi despărţirea, de altfel – are loc în condiţii stranii, într-un cadru real care a virat spre fantastic. Există chiar o cochetărie cu moartea, un joc ingenuu. Surprinzătoare imagini, prin forţa lor sugestivă, se fac adesea simţite. Poemele semnate de Carmen Firan constituie o discretă eufonie realizată prin asonanţe şi rime apărând ici-acolo, dar şi cu ajutorul unui ritm cu totul firesc, colocvial, de confesiune melancolică. E vorba de o nelinişte a vieţii în iubire, căreia îi năluceşte – ca prezenţă a morţii – o continuă dedublare, ca şi când persoana s-ar afla permanent în faţa unei oglinzi. Jocul în doi trece de cele mai multe ori de la hârjoneala iubitei cu iubitul la drama narcisiacă a lui ego şi alter ego."

Ştefan Augustin Doinaş


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UNDE INCEPE CERUL

„O carte captivanta, scrisa elegant, capabila sa creeze scenarii narative cinematografice care il plimba pe cititorul vrajit de pe inaltimile Himalayei pina in Patagonia, de pe treptele de la malul Gangelui pina in jungla din America de Sud, de la Machu Picchu, ridicat «unde incepe cerul», pina in templele Angkor Wat. Autoarea isi face din timp si distante aliati fideli in descrierea unor calatorii incarcate de magie si suspans. Fie ca descriu in filtru personal India spirituala, intilnirea cu un saman din Perú sau asediul asupra orasului Praga din 1968, povestirile au dramatism si farmec. O lectura savuroasa, plina de informatii si de perspective originale asupra spatiului si sensului calatoriei, stimulind imaginatia si formulind intrebari provocatoare la rascruce de drumuri, vremuri, virste, culturi si mentalitati.” (Harry Mathews)

„Am avut dintotdeauna neastimparul drumului, curiozitatea de a vedea ce se intimpla de partea cealalta a gardului, ce e dincolo de orizont, cum traiesc oamenii in alte parti ale lumii, cum se imbraca, cum gindesc, ce maninca. Deliciul de a-ti face valiza, de a consulta harti si ghiduri, de a lasa imaginatia sa o ia inainte, cu riscul ca realitatea sa o contrazica sau sa o depaseasca, toate fac parte din ritualul pregatitor al escapadelor.” (Carmen Firan)

Din cuprins: Realism magic in Columbia • Bangkok • Triunghiul de Aur – Thailanda, Birmania, Laos • Toamna la Lisabona • Ziua mortilor si noaptea sufletelor in Guatemala • Cum am ajuns pe Marte – desertul Atacama • La capatul lumii – Patagonia • Jaipur – Rajasthan

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SERTARUL CU ALBINE

"Întâlnirea amoroasă – subiect frecvent al poemelor, ca şi despărţirea, de altfel – are loc în condiţii stranii, într-un cadru real care a virat spre fantastic. Există chiar o cochetărie cu moartea, un joc ingenuu. Surprinzătoare imagini, prin forţa lor sugestivă, se fac adesea simţite. Poemele semnate de Carmen Firan constituie o discretă eufonie realizată prin asonanţe şi rime apărând ici-acolo, dar şi cu ajutorul unui ritm cu totul firesc, colocvial, de confesiune melancolică. E vorba de o nelinişte a vieţii în iubire, căreia îi năluceşte – ca prezenţă a morţii – o continuă dedublare, ca şi când persoana s-ar afla permanent în faţa unei oglinzi. Jocul în doi trece de cele mai multe ori de la hârjoneala iubitei cu iubitul la drama narcisiacă a lui ego şi alter ego."

Ştefan Augustin Doinaş

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IN CAUTAREA MAGICIANULUI ALB

Dialogul Stefaniei Magidson (stabilita in Los Angeles, presedinta Fundatiei Blue Heron) cu scriitoarea Carmen Firan (stabilita la New York) exploreaza teme cu care ne confruntam zilnic din unghiul psihologiei spirituale aplicate. De la misterul sufletului la frica de moarte,de la anxietate la pacat si pedeapsa, de la sensul viselor la firele nevazute care ne tin conectati in roata vietii in permanenta devenire. Drumul spre descoperirea Magicianului Alb - simbol al celui de-al saselea simt, al cunoasterii de sine si optimizarii existentei personale,se poate deschide pe cat de firesc,pe atat de miraculos,pentru fiecare cititor. Incercand sa raspunda la intrebarea: ,,Ne putem alege destinul ?'' acest volum ofera o posibilitate provocatoare:
,,Sa ne alegem un vis pe care ni-l dorim si sa-l transformam in realitate''.

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VALIZA CU MELCI


Volumul Valiza cu melci – Un Horoscop al Emigrantului contine un eseu asupra emigratiei urmat de un horoscop bazat pe numeroase observaţii şi interacţionări directe cu emigranţi din multe culturi, cercetări atente ale celor două zodiace, vestic şi asiatic, care conturează psihologia emigrantului scindată între cele două naşteri ale sale, cea biologică, în ţara natală, şi cea simbolică, în spaţiul de adopţie. Volumul poate suscita însă curiozitate pentru orice cititor, emigrant sau nu, dezrădăcinat temporar sau pentru tot restul vieţii, pentru oricine cochetează doar cu ideea schimbării.

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ROCK AND DEW


Carmen Firan has many voices - almost a choir - which she controls equally, be they lyrical or realistically uttered, ideas turning to poetry, and poetry breathing ideas. That's the strength and originality of her "Rock and Dew.

Nina Cassian

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WORDS & FLESH

A Fan’s Notes
by Andrei Codrescu

In the paper house of words, Carmen Firan occupies a sunlit room. Whenever she goes anywhere, whether in the bazaar of Queens to buy chick-peas from an Egyptian or olive-oil from a Greek, or to the Black Sea to speak before a distinguished audience of Romanian literati so steeped in books they give off a babylonian hue, Carmen takes her house of words with her, folded in the shape of a fan. As she banters with her neighbors or exchanges health (physical and mental) information with them, or intones eruditely over the sound of the sea, she fans herself expertly, picking up cadences and phrases that are instantly absorbed into her fan. I imagine that later, when she unfolds her house of words again and sits before the window on which she taps her new discoveries, she becomes many Carmens: Carmen the story-teller, Carmen the poet, Carmen the hypnotist-healer, Carmen the thinker.
In this collection, we meet Carmen the story-teller, a sharp observer, an ironist, an exacting but tender flayer of reality’s outer skin. The immigrant plumber and the exiled artists who live between worlds (though they might physically reside in Queens) find themselves at home in Carmen’s stories. Her characters move leisurely in these tales, like guests invited to a very special party the purpose of which is known only to their hostess. That purpose, revealed or half-revealed, is that of making them feel OK about being strangers in a strange land because there are no strangers or strange land inside the human body (or else all is strange), and, anyway, they are in Carmen’s compassionate house of words where wine and talk flow as if no one has ever left the womb. Naturally, they all have to leave sometime (as the wonderful plumber in “The Boiler Man” reflects), and when they do, Carmen the thinker appears, reflecting about the condition of strangeness, of not being home, of being home, of what the word “home” means.
Carmen the thinker meditates on words until she suddenly metamorphoses into Carmen the sorceress, a powerful figure capable of healing and destroying. She chooses to heal and discovers that powerful images can cause physical transformations. Her metaphors put on bodies, her words dress up. Soon, outside her door form several lines: shabbily dressed peasants descending straight down from an immemorial history, immigrants from the 20th century dressed in second-hand clothes from the pushcarts of Lower Manhattan, and an elegant and aloof clientele of monocled esthetes and ivy-covered neo-byzantine elegiasts who do their best to pretend that they are not with the others. Carmen receives them all.
Carmen’s sybilline and hypocratic personae are evident in this book of “Flesh and Words,” as are her fabulous story-telling gifts. She is simultaneously the Chekhov of Queens and the Sorceress of the Carpathians. Personally, I am lucky to know her also as Carmen, my friend, who knows everyone and everything going on in the world of letters on both sides of our Atlantic (from Sibiu, Transylvania through Bucharest, Romania to Queens, New York and Miami, Florida), and I am fortunate to be able to call on her unfailing sense of what goes on in this world. I get pretty confused most of the time. From a distance (any distance, no matter how far) I can land like an ungainly and muddy octopus right on the exquisite carpets in her sunny house of words, and be welcome. That’s a privilege, surely, but she has many friends who feel equally benighted by her generosity.
After all this, to say that she has impeccable taste might sound like a turkey gobbling after the nightingales have sang, but I mean it to mean that she knows true measure, that she is demotic and sound. Her stories and essays, like her poetry, fold perfectly into her instrumental fan. The reporter might say that she knows how to hear and how to render, and the poet that she can find the music in the noise. The rest of me just digs reading her.

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THE POWER OF WORDS

The sense that in language we have been handed down an encoded legacy, a hidden power, has been ingrained in civilizations and cultures from times immemorial. Incantations, prayers, anthems, religious ceremonies, hypnotic trances and intimations or magic rituals contain specific words which carry within them the ability to induce natural or supernatural alterations, to crack open certain mysteries or to unleash miracles.

Seen at first glance as a poetic essay on language’s features, this book brings into discussion the art of communication and spiritual redemption through recovery of the word’s power, capable of impacting our destiny and of improving our being.

To what extent do words represent us? Are they our ally in critical moments? Can we take refuge in language, finding ways to defend ourselves through communication? Are words a faithful reflection of our thinking, of our own self, in its compelling need for expression, for breaking free from its bonds?

On the other hand, what dissimulations we often have to resort to, what masks we have to don, how we hide behind metaphors in order to translate our lives into words without meanwhile betraying our vulnerabilities, our frailties, our deep-seated fears!

And then, what power do words hold in today’s cyberspace, in our computerized, globalized, highly technological times of instant communication increasingly dominated by image, where the synthetic insinuation is gaining ground over the far more complex displays of language? These are just some of the questions the book seeks to answer.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we vacillate between the fear of words with the ensuing tendency of trying to flee from them, and the irresistible wish to control them. One may find, occasionally, that not everything one thinks can be put into words. Words have this flowing flexibility to change, to pervert or to ennoble themselves, depending on the level of education and spiritual advancement of whomever utters them, of whomever receives them, but also on the context within which the act of communication takes place. Manipulation, emptiness, the vulgarization that result from stripping words of their meaning, the loss of the premonitory, enigmatic standard, the flaws and linguistic taboos of our world, sophisticated but not necessarily profound in the spiritual sense – are themes that the books will deal with at length, approaching communication from a double perspective: words which overwhelm us, and our tendency to cannibalize their meaning.

The metaphor is the finest sensor tracing the progress of communication. Standardization, clichés, globalization, depersonalization are but symptoms of language’s alienation. We speak, but we don’t communicate. We gave up the metaphor, and we have lost its healing powers. Why is childhood, most often, such a happy time in our lives, if not precisely because it had allowed us to take refuge in the metaphor whenever reality was too painful to be born or comprehended. This instinctive impulse to escape reality is only getting more entrenched as we get older. Except that later, as our relationship with the world changes, the metaphor loses its greatness. We suddenly find ourselves unwilling to embrace symbols, overtaken by the flow of tiny bits of experience that eat up our reality. Overwhelmed by obligations, worn out, always in a mad rush, consumed by the daily grind, stressed out, harried or bored with a lackluster drudgery, recruited in the service of ideals which are in fact mere attempts at survival, most people are no longer able to recognize among life’s challenges that one thing: the revelatory metaphor.

How can we make use of the metaphor in order to overcome our limitations, to break free from our fears and thus find peace for our souls? What role does the healing metaphor play in our daily life, how can we make it our ally? I don’t believe in “travel guides” to and “handbooks” for happiness, that would instruct you, step by step, how to live a dreamlike life, get rich, successful, sheltered from life’s drama or immortal. But I do believe that we are ignoring many of the attributes we were born with – moreover, we often forget to make use of the simplest and most accessible of our innate qualities, which could help us understand and overcome the predicaments that beset us throughout our life. And what is more straightforward and natural than the words themselves, communication, intuition and imagination, which, when properly harnessed and directed can work in our favor?

Each of us has had the occasion in life more than once to discover that a single word may change everything. In fact, reality is the projection of our inner self. And by far words play the prevailing part in this projection. Whether we are aware of it or not, they convey our emotions, thoughts and intentions. They take us out into the world and hurl us into the communication process, forcing us to confront the reality of others. The act of becoming rests on this ongoing confrontation.

The first step in a personal reformation would be giving the words back their force, and learning to recognize their magic load, the miracle of their being able to express what we aim to become. Set free from inhibitions and clichés, the meaningful words enable us to take off our masks, to give up our disguising ourselves in a pathetic discourse.

Words’ power is a healing power. Once recovered, this ability can be applied to our everyday lives. If only we could find the right words, the healing metaphor for the soul, to reconcile us with our own selves, to open up real and beneficial communication channels with the others, we would greatly help not only ourselves but also those around us, and thus we could cure our anxieties, insecurities, loneliness, feelings of unhappiness or lack of confidence.

Through words we set ourselves free, we explain ourselves, we try to comprehend and remove conflicts and find solutions. The religious confession, psychoanalytical methods, Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques, hypnotic suggestions all rely on the positive outcome of the process through which words release energies apt to produce mental or emotional changes.

The right word at the right time – is the challenge offered by this book. The healing metaphor is the bonus of this linguistic adventure of imagination.

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BORN IN UTOPIA
An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Romanian Poetry

Talisman House

From the always intriguing Talisman House comes an anthology of Romanian poetry fetching the last 100 years — from Symbolism to Postmodernism, Born in Utopia, editors Carmen Firan & Paul Doru Mugur & Ed Foster, with grand mechanics behind the translating machine from Adam J. Sorkin, Andrei Codrescu, and many more. The gist: despite a language and a poetry that suffers from a lack of translators — Codrescu claims two million Romanians were writing poetry (mainly at work) between 1964 and 1989. Dates and activities from a highly mysterious country drifts into tatters because of fascism, World Wars, a fleeing avant-garde in the 30s (for France), to a later day avant-garde, socialism, open travel to the west etc., to these sixty poets packed like sardines and meant for a poetry blast. You'll want it.

Long House Poetry

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THE SECOND LIFE

Novellas and Short Stories

Columbia University Press, 2005

Nine stories make up this strong book: four novellas (Somewhere in the East, Light in the Attic, The Second Life, and Three for Inferno) and five short-stories (The Boiler Man, Post-Meridian, Parking, Concession, and The Russian Fur Hat).

Although the author deals with a variety of subjects, her stories display a remarkable unity of style. In each of them the protagonist is a middle-aged man, faced with unexpected traumatic changes, which leave their indelible mark on his life. Somewhere in the East, the biggest novella of this collection, is set in Eastern Europe, during the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The realistic narrative is frequently broken into by fantastic elements, as dramatic situations crop up, strange characters step in, while the action is unfolding at the borderline between a police story and a thriller.

The volume's freshness resides in the novelty of its subjects, in the unique approach to universal themes such as the life of the couple, man suddenly confronted by history, and the horrendous turmoil resulting from sudden violent career or personal upheavals.

The author was born in Romania, where she had published several books, before making New York her home. As such she is uniquely equipped with the ability to know, analyze and bring to light the subtleties of the two respective societies, worlds apart physically and spiritually, yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, similar in the timeless concerns of people everywhere, struggling with the same age-old anxieties, searching for meaning in their lives, while often experiencing overwhelming failures, faced with dilemmas and desperately reaching out in pursuit of happiness. Her prose echoes the tone and structure of some of the finest Latin-American prose.

Love, jealousy, vanity, the unquenchable search for God through the creative process, fatalism, and the marvelous business of living - these are the passionately sought after goals in the lives of the book's characters - ordinary, everyday people, who just happen to be surprised by the miraculous.

Ultimately the book's strength resides precisely in the way it handles this encounter between the human being and the awesome, infinitely rich, varied other-worldliness.

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“The secret of how the deeply farcical and the profoundly human can coexist and engender one another has been patented by eastern European writers. Carmen Firan's stories are heirs to that tradition, and the world of her stories is filled with the pathos of people caught by uniquely contemporary dilemmas. These are stories of exile, loss, history, love, and just plain surprise at the oddness of being human at this time. Poetry and humor infuse her world, and the chill of strange magic is always in the air.”

Andrei Codrescu, Author of "Wakefield," a novel; NPR Commentator

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“Carmen Firan is a crafter of wickedly satirical, sly, and subtle short fictions that continually surprise the delighted reader, while illuminating some of life’s crazier and more poignant perspectives.”

Isaiah Sheffer, Director and Host of NPR’s series, Selected Shorts

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“It took a survivor of Eastern European tyranny like Carmen Firan to reveal the true absurdity of the American story. What seems normal and mundane to our jaded eyes becomes surreal and even a little bit tragic through the wry lens of her writing. In sculpted, often striking prose, she catches the sad poetry of our everyday disappointments and turns the boredom and alienation of some banal lives into a gentle, universal music. These cruel, gentle and human tales are cool, brittle, yet touching and soulful. Anyone should be able to relate deeply to them.”

Bruce Benderson, Author of “User”

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“Blending the subtlety of a poet, the passion of the novelist and the dramatic sense of the playwright, Carmen Firan tells in Somewhere in the East the unsettling story of a brave man before, during and after the so-called Romanian revolution of 1989. These events make up a sad and painful “farce”, and as readers we can only praise the inspired author for recreating it with such authenticity and talent.”

Harry Mathews

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“In Somewhere in the East, not only are we allowed to witness the day to day events of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, but we are literally witnessing it as Firan details the life of one journalist’s family. Writing about writing is only interesting when alongside the full weight of history and its existential realization. To underscore this, Carmen’s heroes have minds that are enlightened in the poetic much like the act of turning on a light bulb that’s always been swinging overhead. Thought and act are one obligation which words must also be obliged to turn on, to light up within. Outside of this there is nothing, not even the night, which we are both moving towards while we simultaneously shore up alienation to its emptiness.”

Tod Thilleman
, Spuyten Duyvil Press

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Also by Carmen Firan: Also by Carmen Firan:

Disconsolate Conquests, 2004
The Farce, 2003
In The Most Beautiful Life, 2002
The First Moment after Death, 2001
Accomplished Error, 2000
Punished Candors, 2000
Places for Living Lonely, 1999
Pure Black, 1995
Staircase under the Sea, 1994
Getting Closer, 1991
Tamer of Stolen Lives, 1984
Paradise for Monday, 1983
llusions on My Own, 1981