A Modern Day Miortia

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Power of Words

He’s a writer known for his dark wit and his outsider’s take on the world he lives in. Andrei Codrescu was born in Romania in 1946 and was forced to flee his country twenty years later. He began publishing his work in the seventies and seems to have his hands in all things literary — be it poetry, essays or novels. Codrescu also edits the literary magazine “The Exquisite Corpse”; public radio fans will know him from his regular commentary on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Codrescu is the featured writer at Birmingham Southern College’s Writing Today Conference. He stopped by the studio to speak with WBHM’s Rosemary Pennington about writing and his latest novel Wakefield — the story of a man forced to find his “true life” after the Devil comes calling. But Wakefield’s not the only one going through a crisis, the Devil’s got problems of his own.

Wondering what exactly a “miorita” is?

It’s a lovely Romania folk ballad of a sheep’s devotion to her beloved shepard. She tells the shepard he’s about to be killed and asks him to run away. He refuses, deciding to meet his fate. He then asks his ewe, Miorita, to tell his mother he isn’t dead, but instead married the daughter of a king. Miorita does as he wishes and travels about the land, telling the story of how her beloved married a princess.

The tale has been handed down for ages and changes a bit with each telling, but at its heart is always the willingness of the sheep to turn a tragic situation into a lovely story. The path the sheep took on her mythical travels has been said to define the boundaries of Romania’s artistic imagination; boundaries that are constantly shifting as new Romanian artists, writers and musicians develop.

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