Poetry: Anca Roncea, winner of the 2016 Omnidawn Broadside Poetry Prize

This month, we feature the winning poem of the 2016 Omnidawn Single Poem Broadside Poetry contest, selected by Norma Cole. The winning broadside will be published by Omnidawn in conjunction with Lisa Rappoport of Littoral Press in summer 2017.

The first line of this poem sets the map in motion, and as the words, lines, and images turn, its syntax lets go, “loose language” loses its stake in traditional grammar, becoming exactly the song of “loose earth,” discovering the overarching theme with its tones and overtones.

—Norma Cole, judge


we never moved past the border the border moved passed us.
poison oak on my clavicle. underfeather loose language.
losing is lost. like it was my weight I carried.

we must movement. it may be short but it’s ours. we lived in a very difficult century.
liber. we have to be as flowy as the picture.

invisibles ground remains. us numerous conceal sown under woods. loose earth furrowed fractured filled wrinkled.
flushed shapes in us silent

my country is in a state of unning
afterwater unrepressed sound
my passage gets hid within
to another afterwar a shot will breathe will bleed empty out one redouble in the next one
in the awareness of motions I had to give myself over to exhaustion
the meat of it
how do you even turn? in
in inversion your making

I occupied myself. a stable state gets sunburnt

IMG_0054Anca Roncea is a poet and translator. She is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently attending the University of Iowa’s MFA program in Literary Translation. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Bucharest in Modern Greek and English followed up with an MA in American Cultural studies. In 2012-2013 she was a Fulbright visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. She was born and raised in Romania and now lives in Iowa City where she writes and translates poems, working on an experimental translation of Tristan Tzara as well as her first book of poetry. She explores the space where language can create pivots in the midst of displacement while incorporating the aesthetics of Constantin Brancusi. Her work can be found in the Berkeley Poetry Review, Beecher’s Magazine and the Des Moines Register.