Twenty-five-year-old poet Mihai Brinas lives in Romania and has already published four collections of poetry, including Invitation to Poetry, his most recent. Brinas write poetry in English, and he writes about love, poetry, jealousy, imagination, the passing of time, and life.
It’s unusual to see contemporary poets write love poems, and yet that’s what comprises a significant portion of this new collection. He considers the clumsy first stages of love, the first kiss, how a relationship develops, the depth of passion, and more. This focus on love even spills into the more general journey of life poems he includes. There is something innately appealing, and rather refreshing, about a poet writing on love – the theme poets have written about for millennia.
All of his poems are written in lower case and without punctuation. He uses line breaks to provide order and coherence. This suggests a kind of humility – something else not usually associated with contemporary poets. He writes with a crispness and simplicity that holds your attention to the words; only after do you realize that something deeper was being communicated. Consider this poem, one of the “non-love” poems in the collection.
have not hidden my eyes
from any sunrise
i hide my eyes
every sunset instead
i can hear the light crumble
when the night falls
i can hear it fall into pieces
that is why i avert my eyes
i am trying to collect
the remains of the light
just like a child
collecting from the dust
shards of colored glass
fantasizing they are precious stones
This is a “life” poem, or a “searching for life” poem. The poet distinguishes between the light of sunrise, or beginnings, and the light of sunset, or endings. He’s firmly fixed on the light from the sunrise. But both kinds of light turn out to be fragmentary, and he finds himself trying to collect the remains of light in the dust, those “shards of colored glass” that he wants to believe are precious stones. And that suggests the underlying theme of the poem – is this a search for the real or for the ephemeral? The poet is an idealist here; he keeps searching because he still believes.
Brinas’ previous poetry collections are Alignment of Thoughts, Crossroads, and Thoughts That Bring Us Closer. Born and raised in Romania, he lives in the city of Arad in the western part of the country, not far from the Hungarian border.
If I had to use one word to describe Invitation to Poetry, that word would have to be enchanting. The poems have freshness and vitality. They’re fully recognizable across cultures as poems of love and life. And they remind us of what’s important and what matters.
Top photograph by Nathan McBride via Unsplash. Used with permission.