A Breath on the Window or Brainstorming Pictures by Radu Andrei

A Breath on the Window or Brainstorming Pictures is a collection of twenty poems by Radu Andrei. The work is described as ‘a bit of surrealist poetry of pain, separation, isolation, despair, and threatening disaster, evoking an archetypal world, underlying the contemporary existence.’ The poems explore themes of searching for the good in the world, even when there appears to be so much unrelenting darkness all around. The poet pulls from his real life experiences living in Romania after the Second World War, enduring the Russian occupation, poverty, and the systematic ideological indoctrination that was imposed by the totalitarian regime that controlled the government when he was a young man. The poems are not overly complex, but their imagery offers up ideas to contemplate, as they wonder what it means to be a human in this world. Paired with abstract black and white line drawings, the poems flow over the reader as they follow each other in a similar fashion, one by one.

Poems like ‘During the Night’ and ‘Stirring the Dreams’ offer up a sense of longing and hope while pushing through the despair, at the same time, the words are left purposely vague enough that the reader is able to interpret the poet’s words in their own way. This doesn’t simplify the work at all, but rather it lets the reader interact with the emotions that the poet has placed upon the page. The color blue is mentioned often throughout the collection, a singular color, or perhaps a feeling, thus strings along and connects each poem together. The book ends with the poem ‘Seeds of Time’ while contemplating love and freedom, and concluding with a set of ellipses, therefore not really ending at all, but instead drifting off into the atmosphere.

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