Born in 1983, poet Claudiu Komartin made his debut in 2003, before turning 20, with the volume “The Puppeteer and Other Insomnias”, which was awarded the “Mihai Eminescu” Prize for debut.
In 2005, Claudiu Komartin published “The Domestic Circus”, winning the “Romanian Academy Prize” for poetry, at an early age. The following volumes “A Season in Berceni” issued in 2009 and “Cobalt” in 2013 confirmed Claudiu Komartin’s talent and imposed him as one of the leaders of the 2000 generation. Komartin has shot to fame not only through his poetry but also through an intense publishing and translating activity. “The Max Blecher Publishing House”, the editorial project that Komartin initiated and almost fully supported took shape in 2010, as an extension of the “Blecher Institute” contemporary literature workshop, with the declared aim of promoting contemporary Romanian literature, mainly books by less known writers, who are not among the most praised names by the editorial and publishing system.
Claudiu Komartin has further details: “What we had in mind from the very beginning was to build up a community. This community is made up of writers, particularly poets, who are not glorious names of the present, and of readers. We wanted people to have the feeling that they belong to the same place and share the same story. It was an integrating story. We started with this reading club in 2009. It developed unexpectedly well, because back then, when I was only 26 years old, I didn’t think I would ever achieve this. And later on, we set up the publishing house. My intention was to bring over valuable people and I wanted them to feel good here, not to be left with the impression that they are authors and that’s all, as it usually happens. Publishers usually leave them the impression they should be satisfied with the invitation and feel privileged that their work is brought out by a well- known publishing house. This is not enough to me, the more so as I see that at some publishing houses, some writers have their volumes published, but those books are almost invisible, they are not properly advertised or promoted. Those big publishing houses, in spite of having the necessary promotion and marketing instruments, do not properly deal with the books, because the authors are not famous writers. It is true that there are not many famous authors in Romania nowadays, or there are only few, such as Mircea Cărtărescu and Ana Blandiana. But undoubtedly, there are 15-20 valuable and very valuable writers, that only hundreds or thousands of people have heard of or are familiar with their works, such as Octavian Soviany, Radu Aldulescu, Mariana Codruţ and Nichita Danilov, who are well-known only by a few knowledgeable people.”
In other works, like any young talent, Claudiu Komartin also has a rebel personality and the wish to bring many Romanian contemporary poets from underground into mainstream literature. He will tell us now how he achieves this: “What we can guarantee is that the books we bring out will be taken to all poetry festivals across the country, to the main book fairs, that they will be sent to literary critics whose area of interest is contemporary literature and who write about this. According to our minimal exigency, all those requirements should be met. Beyond that, we travel extensively across the country. We enter not only bookstores and libraries, but also restaurants and other unconventional locations. We’ve tried to reach a public that is not necessarily made up of men of letters and connoisseurs. We wanted and we managed to reach some people who happened to be there, in the places we visited and who had never before thought that contemporary literature could be like that, the way we write it and publish it. “
Just as the Max Blecher Publishing House emerged as an extension of a literary circle, the literary review Poesis International is an extension of the publishing house. Poet Claudiu Komartin has more: “The project started taking shape in the spring of 2010, in the northern Romanian city of Satu-Mare. Some poets, writers and translators were invited there by a local poet, Dumitru Păcuraru, who actually had the idea and shared it with us. The project was coordinated by Mr Pacuraru for three years, and then I took over from him. It was another of my crazy ideas, because I was not confident at all that it would work out, in the absence of any financing. However, we worked everything out and, three years on, the project is being developed properly. The declared aim of the magazine has from the very beginning been to publish extensively foreign contemporary literature, but not necessarily literature that is being written right now, but in the past 50-60 years and has been translated into Romanian. We’ve mainly thought about publishing poetry, but also prose and essays. The bottom line has been to present experiences from linguistic and cultural areas which are very different from ours, in order to be able to take a comparative look and realise where we stand. The project has gained ground and we are now publishing poetry from some 20 foreign countries, from the US to Central and Eastern Europe.”
The Blecher Institute, the literary circle which gave an impetus to a group of people to set up the publishing house which is now run by Claudiu Komartin, continues its activity, with many contemporary poets- not necessarily the 2000 generation-reading out their works there.