Crossing the Carpathians is a collection of poems about exile, family, and the survival of love. Carmen Bugan was born in Romania, and her book has its origins in her experiences during the 1980s, as a child of political dissidents and as an exile from her country. Written in America, Ireland, and England, her poems are about crossing countries and languages, recording loss and celebration, reconciling memories with dreams.
To say these poems are beautiful is to risk underselling them. It is the specific nature of their beauty that matters, compounded as it is of dark experience, hope, magic, delight, generosity and love of language. Bugan is such a natural poet that the most apparently straightforward account of life under Ceausescu transcends its grim subject. Her love poems and poems of landscape have a freshness one can only ache for.'George Szirtes