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Nina Cassian

Nina Cassian (born Renée Annie Cassian-Mătăsaru) (1924–2014), poet, memoir writer, translator, children's book writer, journalist, pianist and composer, born in Galati, Romania. Nina Cassian is the daughter of Iosif Cassian-Mătăsaru, a translator of world literature into Romanian. The family moved to Brasov, Romania, where she attended the Princess Ileana High School, and then to Bucharest, where she graduated from the Pompilian Institute. In 1940 she joined the Communist Youth Organization, which was then illegal. After WW2 she was an editor of the Rampa magazine of theater, art, music and literature from 1947 to 1948 and after 1949 an editor at Urzica, a satire and humor magazine and a teacher at the Mihai Eminescu School of Literature and Literary Criticism.

In 1985, while a visiting professor in United States, she decided not to return to Romania, As a result the Communist regime confiscated her apartment and her books were banned and withdrawn from libraries until the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. Cassian became an American citizen and lived in New York until the end of her life. In the United States she started writing poetry in English and her American poems were published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and other periodicals.

Cassian published over 60 volumes of poetry, prose and children’s literature including La scara 1/1 (1947), An viu - nouă sute și șaptesprezece (“Live year - nine hundred and seventeen”, 1949), Ce-a văzut Oana, versuri pentru copii (“What Oana saw, lyrics for children”, 1952), Florile patriei, versuri pentru copii (1954), Vârstele anului, versuri (“Flowers of the homeland, lyrics for children”, 1957), Aventurile lui Trompișor, versuri pentru copii (“The Adventures of Trumpet, lyrics for children”, 1959), Spectacol în aer liber. O monografie a dragostei (“Outdoor show. A monograph of love”, 1961), Să ne facem daruri (“Let's make gifts”, 1963), Sângele (“Blood “, 1966), Marea conjugare (“The Great Conjugation”, 1971), O sută de poeme, selecția autoarei (“One hundred poems, the author's selection”, 1974), De îndurare (“Of Mercy”, 1981), Jocuri de vacanță (“Holiday games”, 1983), Life Sentence. Selected Poems (1990), Desfacerea lumii: 1984-1996 (“Unfolding the world: 1984-1996”, 1997), Something Old, Something New (2002), The Avant Garde Doesn't Die and Never Surrenders (2016), Interviews and Encounters: Nina Cassian, Carmen Firan (2015).

Memoria ca zestre (“Memory as Heritage”, 2003–2005), three volumes of journals and memoirs published in the United States describes and analyses the literary and political life in Communist Romania.

Cassian was a prolific translator into Romanian. Her translations were published in almost 30 volumes of poetry by Mayakovsky, Iannis Ritsos, Brecht, Moliere, Paul Celan, Itzik Manger, Christian Morgenstern and others. She also translated and wrote original lyrics for over 30 musical pieces and composed several musical pieces including Two songs for Eminescu's poems (1957), Symphony Suite: The Cat Alone (1975), Casual Music for Gulliver's Travels (1978), The Magic Clarinet (1985) and various pieces of choral and vocal music on her own lyrics.

Date of birth:
1924
Date of death:
2014
ID Number:
20676443
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions
Nina Cassian

Nina Cassian (born Renée Annie Cassian-Mătăsaru) (1924–2014), poet, memoir writer, translator, children's book writer, journalist, pianist and composer, born in Galati, Romania. Nina Cassian is the daughter of Iosif Cassian-Mătăsaru, a translator of world literature into Romanian. The family moved to Brasov, Romania, where she attended the Princess Ileana High School, and then to Bucharest, where she graduated from the Pompilian Institute. In 1940 she joined the Communist Youth Organization, which was then illegal. After WW2 she was an editor of the Rampa magazine of theater, art, music and literature from 1947 to 1948 and after 1949 an editor at Urzica, a satire and humor magazine and a teacher at the Mihai Eminescu School of Literature and Literary Criticism.

In 1985, while a visiting professor in United States, she decided not to return to Romania, As a result the Communist regime confiscated her apartment and her books were banned and withdrawn from libraries until the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. Cassian became an American citizen and lived in New York until the end of her life. In the United States she started writing poetry in English and her American poems were published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and other periodicals.

Cassian published over 60 volumes of poetry, prose and children’s literature including La scara 1/1 (1947), An viu - nouă sute și șaptesprezece (“Live year - nine hundred and seventeen”, 1949), Ce-a văzut Oana, versuri pentru copii (“What Oana saw, lyrics for children”, 1952), Florile patriei, versuri pentru copii (1954), Vârstele anului, versuri (“Flowers of the homeland, lyrics for children”, 1957), Aventurile lui Trompișor, versuri pentru copii (“The Adventures of Trumpet, lyrics for children”, 1959), Spectacol în aer liber. O monografie a dragostei (“Outdoor show. A monograph of love”, 1961), Să ne facem daruri (“Let's make gifts”, 1963), Sângele (“Blood “, 1966), Marea conjugare (“The Great Conjugation”, 1971), O sută de poeme, selecția autoarei (“One hundred poems, the author's selection”, 1974), De îndurare (“Of Mercy”, 1981), Jocuri de vacanță (“Holiday games”, 1983), Life Sentence. Selected Poems (1990), Desfacerea lumii: 1984-1996 (“Unfolding the world: 1984-1996”, 1997), Something Old, Something New (2002), The Avant Garde Doesn't Die and Never Surrenders (2016), Interviews and Encounters: Nina Cassian, Carmen Firan (2015).

Memoria ca zestre (“Memory as Heritage”, 2003–2005), three volumes of journals and memoirs published in the United States describes and analyses the literary and political life in Communist Romania.

Cassian was a prolific translator into Romanian. Her translations were published in almost 30 volumes of poetry by Mayakovsky, Iannis Ritsos, Brecht, Moliere, Paul Celan, Itzik Manger, Christian Morgenstern and others. She also translated and wrote original lyrics for over 30 musical pieces and composed several musical pieces including Two songs for Eminescu's poems (1957), Symphony Suite: The Cat Alone (1975), Casual Music for Gulliver's Travels (1978), The Magic Clarinet (1985) and various pieces of choral and vocal music on her own lyrics.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People