Secret Weapon

Poetry by Eugen Jebeleanu, translated by Matthew Zapruder and Radu Ioanid, with an introduction by Andrei Codrescu

February 1, 2008 • 6 x 9 • 116 pages • 978-1-56689-206-3

The first English translation of one of Andrei Codrescu’s favorite Romanian poets.

As a state-sanctioned Romanian poet who later regretted his complicity with the Ceausescu government, Eugen Jebeleanu’s experience, as chronicled in his poetry, is an enlightening representation of life under the conditions of Communist totalitarianism. Trapped between his clear understanding of the government’s corruption and his fear of public opposition, the poet’s rage and impotence found an outlet in his spare, allegorical later poems. Appearing in English for the first time, these poems are profoundly unsentimental, yet deeply moving expressions of collective and personal guilt. Both Andrei Codrescu’s introduction and the translator’s preface provide context for Jebeleanu’s politically and artistically significant lyric testimonies.

About the Author

Born in 1911, Romanian poet Eugen Jebeleanu published twelve collections of poems, received numerous European literary awards, and was nominated by the Romanian Academy for the Nobel Prize. By the time of his death in 1991, Jebeleanu had transformed from a young, committed communist to a bitter and unsparing critic of the Ceausescu regime. Secret Weapon was his final collection.

Poet Matthew Zapruder is an editor with Wave Books. He also teaches creative writing at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and at the New School in New York.

Born in Bucharest, Romania, Radu Ioanid is the author of several books on Romanian history and the Holocaust. He works as Director of International Archival Programs Division at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Writer and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu was working on a film exploring life along the Mississippi, when Katrina slammed into his hometown. After hosting scores of refugees in his Baton Rouge home, Codrescu released his essay collection New Orleans Mon Amour, becoming one of the many important voices celebrating New Orleans culture, recording its devastation, and awakening America's conscience.


“Eugen Jebeleanu remains and important poet, a poet with a conscience, a poet whose voice deserves to be heard today and tomorrow.” —Nina Cassian