Paperback Price: $15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-882295-78-4


Selected Poem

Cold War Redux

I watched you sprawling, soused in ennui and Jameson’s,
along palm-shaded pools, in Dallas and Dynasty.
I’d been trained to despise your “parasitic life”
but found you beautiful and dreamed of being you.

You may have spotted my 14-year-old smile on your News:
I was leading the Communist Youth parade in tricolor leotard,
matching hoops barely stirring the broiling air. Did you admire
my synchronized gyrations, did you find me sweet and pitiful?

I don’t understand why history twists her own arm
but I saw her do it: eyes squinted, lips thinned,
she clipped our vocal chords, blew echoes into our gas stoves.
We grew delirious with want behind the screeching Wall,

dreamt stocks and bonds while dining on smoked plums.
I don’t understand why history scars her own body, but I know this:
it could have been my own, gone insane, riding the skies, scything
towers, and your own now on my land, pulverizing my parents’ bodies.

Father Dirt


Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist

“These are angry, fierce, immensely sad poems, individual stories almost too grim to contemplate. Moscaliuc piles on detail after sordid detail, until they sound almost banal, in a condemnation of society’s collective blindness to the problem.​”
Finding Time to Write

“In the midst of trauma, metaphor and imagination grant a magical glow to each fragmented, unsparing memory… Moscaliuc has written a book as gorgeous as it is tragic. An iteration of Eve, learning dark truths about her childhood world, she makes us know, and shows us the small beauties in enormous suffering.”
West Branch

“In [Moscaliuc’s] poems, what might have been forgotten forever is rediscovered in the body and in ritual…Moscaliuc renders her poems with exquisite detail, in language that is both imaginative and lyrical.”
Women’s Review of Books

“Set primarily in Communist and post-Communist Romania, Moscaliuc’s poems depict an unflinching, street-level view of political oppression and urban poverty…With Father Dirt, Moscaliuc has constructed a collection of consequence.”
Pleiades

“Moscaliuc’s first collection is hard to forget…her powers of observation and image remain impossible to deny.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“In Mihaela Moscaliuc’s debut collection, the émigré poet collects totems from her receding past—nettle tea, pinworms, a saddlebag of ghosts, a grandmother translating the cry of a raptor—even as she begins a family in the new world. Father Dirt is steeped in the urgency of a woman still possessed by the pungent memories of the ancestral world she left behind. An outstandingly beautiful collection.”
—Kimiko Hahn

“Mihaela Moscaliuc transfers the weight of one world into the language of another through a series of visceral poetic meditations. The questions born of the blood, quince, and sweet-cherry tastes of her Romanian childhood flow into mature, terse, and sinuous English, to become not answers, but poems that pose new and hard questions. The music of the verse is American, but the contents are forged in the common sorrows of women trapped by an unfortunate history.”
—Andrei Codrescu

“With exquisite lyricism Mihaela Moscaliuc recreates her childhood in Ceausescu’s Romania. The narrative of hardship and loss is arresting and poignant but it’s the flavors and smells, the rich evocation of folk medicines, the vivid descriptions of potions, ghosts, and ways to ward off demons that raise this first book to impressive heights.”
—Maxine Kumin

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