The Panic Room

The Panic Room

Rebecca Păpucaru
$18.95


Preoccupied with the complexities of identity and selfhood, memory, embodiment, loss, and family, Rebecca Păpucaru carefully examines details that make up one's lived experience.


"Lobster Dinner" describes a happy childhood memory of eating an entire lobster with an admiring father as her audience. "Take It or Leave It" is the casual and quotidian, yet heartbreaking, failure of a daughter and her mother to find an emotional connection during an art gallery outing. "Your Women Are Beautiful" betrays the dreamy excitement of travelling in an unfamiliar place, juxtaposed with the blunt reality of arriving home again.


The Panic Room is about the giants that loom over us, too. A second-generation Eastern European Jewish immigrant, Păpucaru attempts to grapple with connecting with her family's past as well as the distinct feeling of being disconnected. In "On Watching an Eastern Bloc Comedy" she writes, "I'm one generation apart from all this, / and ashamed. Of my father, before his / refrigerator, mourning age spots on lettuce."


Păpucaru offers unabashed honesty: the sort of reflections you'd only tell your dearest friend.


Prize(s): Long-listed The League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert Award (2018), Winner Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry (2018) 

The Panic Room reads like an autobiography-in-verse of a Jewish-Romanian-Canadian, intellectual soul - part-drama-queen, part-dreamer - telling it like it is about cultural contradictions, familial angst, tragicomic marriage-and-divorce, black-comic seductions and sardonic jobs. Păpucaru joins a novelist's gift of narrative and character development to the poet's talent for the says-it-all image to render memorable, verbal portraits of persons and events that are reminiscent of the absurdity of Eugene Ionesco and the mordant satire of Woody Allen. These poems are philosophical, funny and forensic in reaching the heart. The characters - such as Dider - are indelible. The Panic Room is a supreme debut.


These poems depict the experience of contemporary young people, especially women: the world they encounter, their efforts to reconcile with the fading past and find a place in the overcrowded present, vulgar yet antiseptic, chaotic in places, oppressively bureaucratic in others. Păpucaru's satire, full of elegy, keeps before us the longing for a better world. Like the poem "Wonder," the book never expresses wonder directly, but makes its absence as fact a powerful version of its presence as an almost hopeless desire.


Panic Room is a truly exciting event in contemporary literature and in particular Canadian Jewish Literature. It is rare that a poet can engage with Jewish ancestry and history (although Păpucaru also covers a breadth of subject matter) in a way that exhibits humour, pathos and a finely tuned ear. These poems demonstrate the precision of some of the finest poets in the tradition of English language poetry, but with Păpucaru's own unique, quirky and clever sensibility. Think Fran Lebowitz meets T.S. Eliot.


 “Although Rebecca Păpucaru’s The Panic Room has a wicked side, or perhaps because it does, it made me laugh out loud a few times ... From where such dry wit originates, mixed as it is throughout with a sometimes vicious surrealism, might best be ascertained in the wonderful poem called “On Watching an Eastern Bloc Comedy,” which Păpucaru describes as the slapstick of deprivation: “It’s hard to pull off, a getaway in a Lada./ Mud road. Sudden appearance of a goat.” She is from the next generation, and remembers her father, saving old vegetables for soup stock. That shift from funny to (a bit shamefacedly) elegiac, the journey from film stock to soup stock, is characteristic. Hers is a lived-in voice, a skeptical-of-cant voice, but something about its way of noticing, of still being surprised enough to make an image of that surprise, of surprise’s confusion (that is, to imagine it) is youthful. “Dismal, yes. But how much more without us?” An enjoyable book for this reader.”


Nightwood Editions
ISBN: 9780889713383
Paperback / softback
5.5 in x 8.0 in - 96 pp
Publication Date: 20170902
BISAC Subject(s):: POE011000-POETRY / Canadian / General,POE024000-POETRY / Women Authors,POE023000-POETRY / Subjects & Themes / General 
:

Description


Preoccupied with the complexities of identity and selfhood, memory, embodiment, loss, and family, Rebecca Păpucaru carefully examines details that make up one's lived experience.


"Lobster Dinner" describes a happy childhood memory of eating an entire lobster with an admiring father as her audience. "Take It or Leave It" is the casual and quotidian, yet heartbreaking, failure of a daughter and her mother to find an emotional connection during an art gallery outing. "Your Women Are Beautiful" betrays the dreamy excitement of travelling in an unfamiliar place, juxtaposed with the blunt reality of arriving home again.


The Panic Room is about the giants that loom over us, too. A second-generation Eastern European Jewish immigrant, Păpucaru attempts to grapple with connecting with her family's past as well as the distinct feeling of being disconnected. In "On Watching an Eastern Bloc Comedy" she writes, "I'm one generation apart from all this, / and ashamed. Of my father, before his / refrigerator, mourning age spots on lettuce."


Păpucaru offers unabashed honesty: the sort of reflections you'd only tell your dearest friend.


Prize(s): Long-listed The League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert Award (2018), Winner Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry (2018) 

The Panic Room reads like an autobiography-in-verse of a Jewish-Romanian-Canadian, intellectual soul - part-drama-queen, part-dreamer - telling it like it is about cultural contradictions, familial angst, tragicomic marriage-and-divorce, black-comic seductions and sardonic jobs. Păpucaru joins a novelist's gift of narrative and character development to the poet's talent for the says-it-all image to render memorable, verbal portraits of persons and events that are reminiscent of the absurdity of Eugene Ionesco and the mordant satire of Woody Allen. These poems are philosophical, funny and forensic in reaching the heart. The characters - such as Dider - are indelible. The Panic Room is a supreme debut.


These poems depict the experience of contemporary young people, especially women: the world they encounter, their efforts to reconcile with the fading past and find a place in the overcrowded present, vulgar yet antiseptic, chaotic in places, oppressively bureaucratic in others. Păpucaru's satire, full of elegy, keeps before us the longing for a better world. Like the poem "Wonder," the book never expresses wonder directly, but makes its absence as fact a powerful version of its presence as an almost hopeless desire.


Panic Room is a truly exciting event in contemporary literature and in particular Canadian Jewish Literature. It is rare that a poet can engage with Jewish ancestry and history (although Păpucaru also covers a breadth of subject matter) in a way that exhibits humour, pathos and a finely tuned ear. These poems demonstrate the precision of some of the finest poets in the tradition of English language poetry, but with Păpucaru's own unique, quirky and clever sensibility. Think Fran Lebowitz meets T.S. Eliot.


 “Although Rebecca Păpucaru’s The Panic Room has a wicked side, or perhaps because it does, it made me laugh out loud a few times ... From where such dry wit originates, mixed as it is throughout with a sometimes vicious surrealism, might best be ascertained in the wonderful poem called “On Watching an Eastern Bloc Comedy,” which Păpucaru describes as the slapstick of deprivation: “It’s hard to pull off, a getaway in a Lada./ Mud road. Sudden appearance of a goat.” She is from the next generation, and remembers her father, saving old vegetables for soup stock. That shift from funny to (a bit shamefacedly) elegiac, the journey from film stock to soup stock, is characteristic. Hers is a lived-in voice, a skeptical-of-cant voice, but something about its way of noticing, of still being surprised enough to make an image of that surprise, of surprise’s confusion (that is, to imagine it) is youthful. “Dismal, yes. But how much more without us?” An enjoyable book for this reader.”

Details


Nightwood Editions
ISBN: 9780889713383
Paperback / softback
5.5 in x 8.0 in - 96 pp
Publication Date: 20170902
BISAC Subject(s):: POE011000-POETRY / Canadian / General,POE024000-POETRY / Women Authors,POE023000-POETRY / Subjects & Themes / General 
: