Category Archives: Poetry

Mircea Dinescu – the poet, the revolutionary, the chef, the singer, …


I was nine years old in December 1989 and I remember quite well the longest show I’ve ever seen transmitted on tv, The Live Romanian Revolution … one of the main actors, Mircea Dinescu … someone said to Dinescu that if he had died at the Revolution, his statue would have been raised in the Bucharest’s centre … this is true, his voice was very important back then.

There was also a line, in the old Romanian style I might say, that become history: “Mircea, fa-te ca lucrezi!” (“Mircea, pretend you’re working!”) said by Ion Caramitru referring to the writing of the revolutionary proclamation.

Mircea Dinescu was a living legend and this was the way I saw him in the summer of 1990 when “Moartea citeste ziarul” (“Death is reading the newspaper”), the volume prohibited for publication in 1988, appeared in the library from my neighborhood. I used to visit it frequently attracted by books and when I saw Dinescu’s book, black with white writing, thin, with a really strange title … I don’t know what makes your brain to keep some memories and forget the others … very, very hot … all the street were empty … I ran back to my house to tell my mother about my extraordinary finding … I asked her to buy like ten of them … I returned desperate that somehow the book can disappear in 10 minutes, bought by the invisible people from the street … I bought five books and then returned home … again, no one on the street at three o’clock in that incredibly hot summer day.

At home, I don’t know if I admitted that to myself, but I remember I couldn’t really understand at almost ten years old how somebody could write such a little book and still be considered big, how a poet who wrote without traditional rhyme could receive prizes for his talent or why for something like “ei n-aveau limba de carpa” („they had no tongue of cloth”), „imaginatia nu costa nimic” („the imagination cost nothing”), „istoria … parca a uitat sa se mai nasca” („it look like history forgot to be born”) you were prohibited to publish.

As gravity, it was definitely less harsh than I expected, but this was the tragedy, you couldn’t in fact say anything else than the Party said – everything that was already written. Nowadays, we do have some kind of freedom, but in my old neighborhood there is no library now and the son of a metal worker cannot buy twenty-five books at once as Mircea Dinescu could in the days of communism.

I can say that after the Revolution Mircea Dinescu has a succesful live, although many consistently criticised him for not being … like they expected. He started three journals of political satire: „Academia Catavencu” („Catavencu Academy”), „Plai cu boi” („Land of the Dumb”), „Aspirina saracului” („The Poor’s Man Aspirin”) and with Cristian Tudor Popescu the newspaper „Gandul” („The Thought”). He has a political talk show,  with Stelian Tanase („Dinescu si Tanase”). And he also started … yes, agriculture … in The Dinescu’s Cultural Harbor Cetate … there you can find a yearly Musical Camp, a Poetry Camp, a Film Festival, a Gastronomic Art Festival, … he now has his own brand of wine from Cetate, „Vinul mosierului” („Landowner’s wine”), named after a remark of him made by the former president Ion Iliescu.

About poetry … he recently published a book of love poetry, „Femei din secolul trecut” („The women from the past century”) that can be bought together with a disk, the same poems sang, of corse, by himself.

I guess that a foreigner can’t understand Mircea Dinescu, he is very … Romanian, he is just like the Romanians. I hope this to be true, I hope that there are still Romanians who can fight for their ideas.

I have to return now to the beginning of the story. After an interview in the French newspaper Liberation in which he criticised the political regime, Mircea Dinescu was under house arrest in 1989. Following the visit of Gorbaciov in Bucharest, the communist policy was afraid that with this occasion Dinescu might be interviewed by foreign journalists. That is why he was proposed initially to move from Bucharest in Tecuci as librarian and then he was offered passports for him, his wife and children for France. And he refused because he didn’t want to compromise his ideas. He reminded and reported everything after not only that he wasn’t allowed to speak at an election rally of president Traian Basescu (which in fact he supported in the first term) but he was also invited to move his harbor from Cetate to Bulgaria, on the other shore of Danube.

What president does Dinescu want for Romania? Go in the dark at the Athenaeum and choose someone from there, so maybe you could find a man with „common sense, courtesy, kindness, his presence to give you a peaceful mind”. So I guess Mircea Dinescu won’t stop criticising the political system too soon.