Excerpt


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Praise for The Panic Room

The Panic Room reads like an autobiography-in-verse of a Jewish-Romanian-Canadian, intellectual soul - part-drama-queen, part-dreamer - telling it like it is about cultural contradictions, familial angst, tragicomic marriage-and-divorce, black-comic seductions and sardonic jobs. Păpucaru joins a novelist's gifts of narrative and character development to the poet's talent for the says-it-all image to render memorable, verbal portraits of persons and events that are reminiscent of the absurdity of Eugene Ionesco and the mordant satire of Woody Allen. These poems are philosophical, funny and forensic in reaching the heart. The characters - such as Dider - are indelible. The Panic Room is a supreme debut.
-- George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2016-17

These poems depict the experience of contemporary young people, especially women: the world they encounter, their efforts to reconcile with the fading past and find a place in the overcrowded present, vulgar yet antiseptic, chaotic in places, oppressively bureaucratic in others. Păpucaru's satire, full of elegy, keeps before us the longing for a better world. Like the poem "Wonder," the book never expresses wonder directly, but makes its absence as fact a powerful version of its presence as an almost hopeless desire.
-- A.F. Moritz

Panic Room is a truly exciting event in contemporary literature and in particular Canadian Jewish Literature. It is rare that a poet can engage with Jewish ancestry and history (although Păpucaru also covers a breadth of subject matter) in a way that exhibits humour, pathos and a finely tuned ear. These poems demonstrate the precision of some of the finest poets in the tradition of English language poetry, but with Păpucaru's own unique, quirky and clever sensibility. Think Fran Lebowitz meets T.S. Eliot.
-- Jacob Scheier