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The 2011-2012 Visiting Writers Series continues with a reading by internationally acclaimed Romanian poet Liliana Ursu on Thursday, February 23 at 4:30 p.m. in Magill Commons on Monmouth University’s campus.

Born in Sibiu, Romania in 1949, Liliana Ursu is a poet, prose writer, and translator with 18 books published in her native tongue. Her work has been translated into many languages, including four books in English. Her first book in English, The Sky Behind the Forest (Bloodaxe Books, 1997) translated by Ursu, Adam J. Sorkin, and Tess Gallagher, became a British Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation and was shortlisted for Oxford’s Weidenfeld Prize. 

Her other books in English include Lightwall (Zephyr Press, 2009), Goldsmith Market (Zephyr Press, 2003), and most recently A Path to the Sea (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2011) which brings together poems from the poet’s birthplace, her sojourns in the United States, and her adopted city of Bucharest. Tess Gallagher, co-translator of A Path to the Sea, explains that “translating these amazing poems was like translating lightning. They left me singed and stricken but lifted by their illuminations, their sudden, piercing power. Co-existing with Ursu’s magical binding of the broken world with ‘word-shadow’ is her close, wide, child’s eye fixed tenderly on wild strawberries, on the bird’s egg fallen from its forest nest. She knows to leave the wasp’s sting in us, allowing us great pain after great love.”

Ursu’s work is highly esteemed by her fellow poets. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Mark Strand compares her poems to “flowers at the edge of the abyss. They are beautifully clear and precise, but behind them one glimpses the presence of an ineradicable dark.” Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun calls Usru “a dancer, an archeologist of light… how she expands the places of myth is beyond grasping: your skin, your mind, your heart rejoice. Gracious, hard-edged, generous and moving.”

Currently living in Bucharest, Ursu teaches courses in poetry and creative writing, and occasionally produces radio programs for România Cultural. She has received two Fulbright grants and taught creative writing in the United States at the University of Louisville and at Bucknell University. Ursu’s awards include Romania’s highest cultural honor, the rank of Knight of Arts and Literature.

This event is co-sponsored by Office for Global Initiatives and The Visiting Writers Series with additional support from the Department of English and the Monmouth Review.

Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts Visiting Writers Series brings the most celebrated poets and authors from around the world (Andrei Codrescu, Colm Tóibín, Adam Zagajewski,) and our own back yard (Long Branch’s own US Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky) to campus. All readings are free and open to the public. The series continues on Thursday, March 22 with a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey and on Tuesday, April 10 author and/or editor of more than 25 volumes or poetry, Naomi Shihab Nye will read selections from her work. For additional information, please contact the director of the Visiting Writers Series, Michael Thomas at 732-263-5635 or visit online at

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Media contact: Petra Ludwig at 732-263-5507