There is a contemporary poet who leaves his draft poems on a website with around 20,000 visitors every month. He calls himself Iv the Naïve, because that is what characterizes him best, naivete.
And, because he had to name this feature of his, he called himself Iv. His poetry started with notes left on the fridge or little sweet nothings sent as mobile text messages to his then girlfriend. She was the one who convinced him to share all this with the world, we mean this poetry. Iv says he was reluctant at first:
Iv the Naïve: “She told me that these things were beautiful, and deserved to be shared with the world. I was quite skeptical, I said these were things that were part of the intimacy of a couple, and I didn’t think too many people would be interested in what I tell her. But she insisted, so I got myself a blog.”
At first there were eight or ten readers, then more and more started clicking their way to his text messages, written by the man who carries his naivete as a badge. The public enjoyed the thoughts that the writer carried with him for years, or maybe only for five minutes, his pith or undertones, the timid flirting or truths disguised as jokes, ideas budding inside him. It is no wonder that they are enjoyed, since what the poet says is so transparent. Let us listen to Iv reciting one of his poems.
Iv the Naïve: “I feel an acute need of not knowing you/ I don’t wanna know what music you listen to/ I don’t wanna know what high school you went to/ I don’t want you to tell me your name/ I don’t want to hear you fill my duvet with your breath/ or understand the divergences of your breasts/ or the uneven arching of your eyebrows. Please don’t wink at me/ I could understand everything about you/ don’t take off your make-up, don’t let your hair down/ don’t show me the freckle on your shoulder/ don’t get ticklish, don’t blush, don’t be soft and warm/ don’t fall asleep on my lap/ I don’t wanna know your sleep/ I would like to be able to fall in love with you even tomorrow.”
He says that he doesn’t even know if he is a poet or not, he somehow sidestepped literary critics, even though he knows it is the critics that validate the value of works. He burned through that stage and threw himself right in the sea, at the mercy of readers, and today he plays with them nicely:
Iv the Naïve: “I am not a technician of poetry, I don’t even know if I’m a poet. I am a man who notices things in other people, puts them through his own filter, through his own sensitivity, and gives them back to people. This is the reason why people enjoy this, and resonate, vibrate to what I’m writing, because everything I do comes in fact from them. People often find my lyrics surprising, the ending of my poems or what happens in the next line amazes people.”
Oana Velant is the editor who bet on Iv. She published two volumes superbly illustrated by Valentin Petridean, Iv’s friend and team partner. The first two thousand copies of ‘Versez’, the oddly named book of the invisible poet, sold out much faster than the publishing house had expected. The recently published volume titled ‘Uibesc’, launched in December, is about to run out too.
It makes one wonder wherefrom one draws the courage to publish the poems of a fictional character. Oana Velant told us it had been a decision based mostly on emotion.
Oana Velant: “We found him on Facebook, we simply liked very much how he wrote and his cheerful, optimistic and jocular style. We thought he stood out in the Romanian contemporary poetry. I personally don’t know anybody who writes in this manner and who manages to draw the attention of a whole community, to have so many fans and enjoy what he is writing. He has this incredible quality to gather these people and make them happy every day. For the Romanian critics Iv the Naïve is a strange voice. We are used to the poetry inspired by tragedy, problems, sadness and melancholy. Iv comes from a brighter area. Many critics don’t know in which category to include him”.
It’s true, everybody knows Iv. Women say that Iv is their daily fix of naiveté.
Oana Velant: “I heard of Iv the Naïve for the first time last year from a friend who was happy to finally discover a contemporary poet that she likes. I now have a favorite poem by Iv called ‘Before going to bed’. I have not bought his new book yet but it’s on my list.”
Men say they cannot possibly get rid of him.
“Iv the Naive…yep…my wife shows me his poems every day…the site is very good as a source of inspiration for the engineers of words”.
You would say that 3 years after being launched as a poet, Iv is ready to enjoy the outcome of his notoriety. But he does not even show up at his fabulous launches, with fortune muffins and especially designed settings. “Those launches are not for me, says the invisible poet, they are for the public. I send Vali on my behalf.”
Vali Petridean says he wasn’t aware, at the first launch, of the extent of the ‘Iv the Naive phenomenon’ but he could feel he had a big secret.
Vali Petridean: “I became aware of the fact that knowing Iv the Naive was like knowing Zorro. I was the only one who knew or could realize how wrong people were when talking about Iv or how right they were. They were talking about the ‘on line Iv’ character and I suppose they perceive him according to their imagination, and they were right in doing so”.
Why doesn’t Iv reveal his identity?
Iv the Naïve: “One of the reasons why I don’t want to publish under my real name and want to remain a fictitious character is my wish to stay away from celebrity. It seems to me that celebrity comes in with good things and also with very many bad, evil things and that it deforms people. I don’t want to be deformed, I want to be myself. I urge people to keep reading what I’m writing, to enjoy what I’m writing and not ask who I am. It’s the work that matters and not the author, as literary critic Titu Maiorescu said, and I agree to that”.
Ivcelnaiv.ro is the site where you can subscribe for a daily dose of poetry that is not inspired by tragedies, sorrows and disillusions. Sign up and you will receive a letter reading “I’m glad you subscribed. You’ll see it’s going to be all right that you subscribed to me”.