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1. When did you first start writing and were there any incidents in your life that made you want to write?
I wrote my first poem “Uncertain Stumps” when I was about 16
years old. I remember being alone at home that day, near the fire
place, watching the stumps burning in the chimney. Those stumps,
which burnt with difficulty because the wood was green, perfectly
symbolized my troubles as a young man. Therefore I felt the need
to immortalize, in some way, that atmosphere, that feeling. I wished
to give the paper the duty to preserve that moment forever, for me,
and for whoever could one day read it. I am firmly convinced that
poetry can be a way to catch the quintessence of a feeling (not the
real feeling but its essence. Not the “reality”, but an alternative
“reality”) or thought – as Eliot suggested – to recreate this, every
time the poem is read.
2. Do you write with strenuous planning, or spontaneously?
One of my peculiarities is to be always inspired. I feel in my heart
and my brain a continuous and never ending flux. I feel that every
day I lose a lot of poems which come up to my mind. I am unable
to write them down all the time, also because I don’t use anymore
my little notebooks as I used to do until I was around 25. Why? I
really don’t know! Maybe I don’t want to write my thoughts down
all the time; it is a bit hard to be always concentrated in elaborating
concepts, feelings and visions. So I could say that at the beginning
my poems are usually spontaneous, often springing out from memories
of childhood or, for instance, from a philosophical concept
coming up to my mind. But then I work very hard on it, for hours
on end, often for different days, till I’m convinced the poem is as I
wish. At the end of the process the poem will keep just the essence
of the original thought, becoming similar to a painting or a statue or
whatever an artist could create with his own hands.
3. Do you have favourite topics?
I had and have priorities, necessities. I wanted to give to the paper
the aim to preserve my autobiographical story. On one hand it was
too heavy to keep it in my mind all the time, and on the other hand
I did not want to forget it. To recall it I had to repeat it over and over
again to myself, becoming such a hard job that I needed to preserve
my memories in another way. Poetry gave me soon the opportunity
to set down my story on paper, so after I had given memory to the
paper I felt I could start to forget it. I knew I was not loosing these
memories, because my poetry was able to preserve these.
Moreover I need to say I also love writing about things which are
very far from my autobiography. For instance I have dealt with
homosexuals, transsexuals and lots of people and situations far
from my life, in those cases I was just watching the others, and trying
to guess their feelings. These poems are not at all related to me.
I love to be impersonal as much as I love to write autobiographical
poems. I love to imagine what other people feel, and sometimes I
also like to combine both, impersonality and autobiography in a
Very important for me are myth and religion which I have particularly
dealt with in my last book In Name of the Father. With these
poems I think I have “finished” talking in such an intense way
about my father and started to looking more towards the others, to
the world, to the metaphysical.
by Simona Samulescu, Interviu cu Menotti Lerro / Interview with Menotti Lerro - 10/08/2012, in: Poeme alese, Genesi, Torino 2013. [Parallel text in Romanian and English. Introduction by Andrew Mangham. Coordinator of the project Lidia Vianu].
Keywords: 10/08/2012, Co-ordonator de proiect Lidia Vianu, Coordinator of the project Lidia Vianu, English translation, Genesi editrice, Interview with Menotti Lerro, Interviu cu Menotti Lerro, Introducere de Andrew Mangham, Introduction by Andrew Mangham, Parallel text in Romanian and English, Simona Samulescu, Text paralel în limba româna si engleza, Torino, Traducere în limba româna, University of Bucharest