Mihaela Moscaliuc


Mihaela Moscaliuc was born and raised in Romania, where most of her family still resides. She is the author of the poetry collections Immigrant Model and Father Dirt, translator of Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper and Liliana Ursu’s Clay and Star, and editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern. The recipient of two Glenna Luschei Awards (in poetry and prose, respectively) from Prairie Schooner, residency fellowships from Chateau de Lavigny and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Fulbright fellowship to Romania, Moscaliuc is associate professor of English at Monmouth University. She resides in Ocean, New Jersey.

Over the years, memories and desires that originally shaped my relation to my first home have disintegrated, reconstituted, or morphed, while my hometown’s cemetery has assumed centrality, its significance both clearer and harder to translate. It is here, to this cemetery perched on a hill and guarded by a fourteenth-century fortress in Suceava, northern Romania, that I return most often for emotional sustenance, old tales, gossip, a taste of strangers’ recipes, the smell of hand-rolled wax candles and calla lilies, the tin cup that dips into the fissured bucket of the well that’s quenched the thirst of every mourner, every beggar, every knuckle of cracked earth. This is where mushrooms churn the town’s dead to feed the living. They thrive in the shadow of the pines that rim the cemetery. This is where, as a child, I’d look for ink mushrooms that sprout among graves so I might stomp on them and watch the dark fluid seep in. For a long time I believed that a letter from the dead would eventually reach me.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard