Nora Iuga


Dangerous Caprices by Nora Iuga, poetry translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Diana Manole, was published by Naked Eye Publishing in 2023.

In a recent interview Nora Iuga asserted that the deepest, most pure feeling of love is that which you feel in old age. It is ‘the same terrible desire and pleasure’ of one’s teenage years, when the desire itself gave the greatest pleasure rather than the fulfilment of the act of love. ‘This is [also] how love is when old,’ says Iuga, although (she adds) ‘women are embarrassed to admit it’.

Nora Iuga is one of Romania’s most important, productive and original writers and translators. Born in Bucharest in 1931, a childhood spent touring with her parents (a violinist and a ballerina) meant she learned both Romanian and German languages, which also gave her common ground with Nobel Prize-winner Herta Müller who was to highly esteem Iuga’s work.

Iuga’s poetry in Romanian is accessible; exuberantly life-filled; sensual; sexual. Following the publication of her first poetry collection in 1968, her second, Captivitatea cercului, ‘The circle’s captivity’ (1970), was censored by the Communist state for its ‘morbid eroticism’, and for a decade her books were banned from Romanian libraries and bookshops.

To date, Iuga has published several novels and fifteen collections of poems including the award-winning Opinii despre durere, ‘Opinions on pain’ (1980), and most recently, Alături cu drumu, ‘Along the road’ (2018). She is also an acclaimed translator of over thirty books by German-language authors, including works by Herta Müller, Friedrich Nietzsche and Gunther Grass. In her long life she has accrued multiple awards in Germany as well as in her homeland where she has achieved national treasure status – Romania’s Grande Dame of literature

When you read her work, you immediately find yourself in the wake of some fictional characters, you are surprised to discover that you are like them, swallowed by them, or that, without noticing, these tumults become familiar to you; you carry them with you, in other words, you feel good! Herta Müller

The poetics of opposites — this can be brilliantly applied to Nora Iuga’s poetic approach. This is an expression as carnal as it is original: “in the open suitcase, which I want to hide, my sex can be seen, yellow and soft as a camel’s snout.”
Jan Wagner, Georg Büchner Award winner

The sensuality of Nora Iuga’s texts, of a violent intensity, is reminiscent of the Proverbs of Hell by William Blake. Here is an example: “I listen to the moonlight sonata / and hammer a nail into my palm / to feel what Jesus felt / to make beauty disappear from my ears / and return thousandfold into my flesh.” Mircea Cărtărescu

Insightful, erotic, morbid, funny and poignant as usual are the traits of Nora’s poems… I just loved reading each one of them… Paul B. Roth, The Bitter Oleander Press


Vina nu e a mea, Editura Pentru Literatură, 1968
Captivitatea cercului, Editura Cartea Românească, 1970
Scrisori neexpediate, Editura Cartea Românească, 1978
Opinii despre durere, Editura Cartea Românească, 1980
Inima ca un pumn de boxeur, Editura Cartea Românească, 1982
Piața Cerului, Editura Cartea Românească, 1986
Cîntece, Editura Cartea Românească, 1989
Spitalul manechinelor, Editura Universal Dalsi, 1998
Capricii periculoase, Editura Vinea, 1998
Autobuzul cu cocoșați, Editura Vinea, 2001
Fetița cu o mie de riduri, Editura Cartea Românească, 2005
Petrecere la Montrouge, Editura Cartea Românească, 2012
Cainele ud e o salcie, Editura Cartea Românească, 2013
Ascultă cum plâng parantezele, Editura Polirom, 2016
Alături cu drumu, Editura Casa de pariuri literare, 2018


Săpunul lui Leopold Bloom, Editura Cartea Românească, 1993
Sexagenara și tânărul, Editura Albatros, 2000
Fasanenstrasse 23. O vară la Berlin, Editura Vinea, 2001
Lebăda cu două intrări, Editura Vinea, 2003, 2016
Harald și luna verde, Editura Polirom, 2014
Hai să furăm pepeni, Editura Polirom, 2009
Berlinul meu e un monolog, Editura Cartea Românească, 2010
Blogstory, Editura Casa de pariuri literare, 2011
Harald și luna verde, Editura Polirom, 2014

Nora Iuga is also an acclaimed translator of over thirty books by German-language authors.

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