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Lightwall takes its title from the angled casements built to reflect sunlight into basement apartments in Bucharest—an image that echoes Ursu’s ability to shed new light on both the unfamiliar and the mundane. This collection deals extensively with the subjects of home, language, and meaning, and explores Romania’s new relationship with both Europe and the United States in the post-Communist era. One section is filled with inspiration from her time at Bucknell University, which complements another section on “the spiritual trials of the Balkans.” The middle section contains a lengthy cycle focused on the sufferings of Ovid, along with poems about the pains of people unable to travel due to economic reasons.


For more information about Ursu see her collection Goldsmith Market, also published by Zephyr Press.

Lightwall, by Liliana Ursu

  • Lightwall
    Liliana Ursu
    from Romanian by Sean Cotter
    ISBN 0-9815521-2-9 (paper)
    6 x 8
    152 pages [Bilingual Romanian/English]

  • Finalist for the PEN USA 2010 Literary Award in Translation.

    Finalist for Three Percent’s 2010 “Best Translated Book Award/Poetry” award.

    Winner of the 2009 PEN Southwest Book Award for Translation/ PEN Judge's Comments


    • Listen to poet and translator


    Romanian Liliana Ursu writes poetry that is wild and unpredictable, on the brink of flying away beyond real and imagined borders. Her short poems are stunning, unforgettable, and expertly translated into exciting English texts by Sean Cotter…. This is one of those books by a European poet that an English reader can pick up and wonder at how the translator did it. We also read in awe as Ursu leads every naïve person by the nose and jumps into the abyss.
    —Ray Gonzalez, Bloomsbury Review

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