Flavia Cosma is an award winning Romanian-born Canadian poet, author and translator. She has a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest. Later she studied Drama at the Community School of Arts—Bucharest, Romania. She is also an award winning independent television documentary producer, director, and writer, and has published twenty-four books of poetry, a novel, a travel memoir and five books for children. Her work has been represented in numerous anthologies in various countries and languages, and her book, 47 Poems, (Texas Tech University Press) received the ALTA Richard Wilbur Poetry in Translation Prize.
Cosma was nominated three times for The Pushcart Prize with poems from Leaves of a Diary (2006), The Season of Love (2008) and Thus Spoke the Sea (2008). She was awarded Third Prize in the John Dryden Translation Competition, 2007, for co-translating In The Arms of The Father, poems by Flavia Cosma, (British Comparative Literature Association & British Literary Translation Centre).
Cosma’s Songs at the Aegean Sea made the Short List in the Canadian Aid Literary Awards Contest, Dec. 2007. Her translation into Romanian of Burning Poems by George Elliott Clarke was published in Romania in 2006. Her translation from Spanish into Romanian of work by the Argentinean poet Luis Raul Calvo was published in 2009 under the title Nimic Pentru Aici, Nimic Pentru Dincolo. Her translation into Romanian of work by the USA poet Gloria Mindock was published in 2010 under the title La Por?ile Raiului. Her translation into English of Profane Uncertainties by the Argentinean poet Luis Raul Calvo was published by Cervena Barva Press in 2010. Her translation into Romanian of Lettres à Saïda by the French poet Denis Emorine was published in Romania under the title Scrisori pentru Saïda in 2012. Her translation into Romanian of work by the Peruvian poet Jose Guillermo Vargas was published in 2012 under the title Oboseala centaurului/El cansacio del centauro. She also translated Manhattan Song—cinci poeme occidentale (Ars Longa, 2013), by Luis Benitez, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Cosma’s poetry book Leaves of a Diary was studied at the University of Toronto E. J. Pratt Canadian Literature during the school year 2007-2008. She received the Title of Excellence for outstanding contribution in the promotion and enrichment of the Romanian culture within the European region and throughout the world, awarded by The International Festival “Lucian Blaga,” XXIX edition, Sebe?-Alba, Romania, 2009, was decorated with the Golden Medal and appointed Honorary Member by the Casa del Poeta Peruano, Lima, Peru, 2010, for her poetry and her work as an international cultural promoter.
Flavia Cosma is the Director of the International Writers’ and Artists’ Residence at Val-David, Quebec, Canada and the Director of the Biannual International Festivals at Val-David.
Just as the sparrow
Wallowing in the dust of the road,
And falling asleep, drowsy, afterwards
Under the calm light of autumn—
The man stretched out on the pavement,
Exiled somewhere in America,
Lies coiled in a dirty sleeping bag,
Trying to catch some rest in the gap
Between sun and concrete.
Deep wrinkles furrow his mature face,
His large hands, accustomed with working,
Clasp at his chest a thick ragged coat;
His weak mind
Keeps repeating, over and over,
—As if in a demented prayer—
The hope that tomorrow he’ll find what he’s searching for
Here, on this foreign sidewalk,
Amidst the shining, glassy, high-rises of the Metropolis,
With the dream of a new life,
Crumpled at his feet.
A New Life
I will start living anew,
With November’s rain trickling my face;
It’s somewhat colder, it’s somewhat late,
It smells of coming winter;
Glassy leaves crumble under my step,
The city is alien, thought is gray.
Could this indeed be the beginning of life?
Pushed by hands, by barbaric rhythms,
In the deafening clamor of drums,
I descend, unwilling, the stony path,
An obscure mask among so many masks,
I sink into the painted crowd.
A bunch of yellow flowers
Scatter in the wind;
“Morocco,” snarl rotten teeth;
A bunch of crimson flowers
Quiver in the rain;
“Sri Lanka,” sighs the rounded face;
Under scowling glances
Stoop and groan.
“This kerchief is torn –I want my money back!”
Dark skinned, furrowed foreheads
Frown and sigh;
Worries, smoky clouds,
Make their way through time.
Cold drops pierce our bones;
Through flimsy, summery clothing,
Tears soak ancient skeletons;
The mind, distracted,
Flutter in the wind;
Our faces slowly withdraw
Into the ground.
Before I die
Before I die
I will speak to you about roads,
About stony hills with flowerless bosoms,
About the urge to run
And about desperation;
About lost wanderers—
The first of them, the last of them—
Or about those who dream of taking to the road one day.
Ashen faces, tired foreheads,
If we could only close our exhausted eyes!
The trembling lips, the demented whisper—
Started or not
Descend into a terrible abyss.
Give me my life, return my jaunty step,
To reread them like I would a book;
Somewhere on a bench
Beneath fragile question marks,
About departures that aren’t departures—
I will speak to you
Before I die.