We’re thrilled to introduce the newest member of the editorial team, poetry co-editor Clara Burghelea. In this Q & A, Clara shares details about her poetry, her reading life, and how her work in translation might play a role at the museum.

• What led you to the museum of americana?

I knew of the magazine. I had traveled and studied in the US and my positive experience had always triggered different reactions in people. It made me wonder if somehow I harbored a distorted image of the society and culture. So finding a magazine that questioned this idea of celebrating and praising and inviting readers to take joy in the embarrassing and difficult aspects, drew my attention. Then I saw the call and decided to give it a shot. 

• In what ways do you think growing up outside the US has influenced your view of Americana?

Growing up in the communist Romania of the 1980s, we had no access to any other culture, though all of us were dreaming of freedom and the American dream seemed to fit that image. Traveling and studying on both coasts gave me a chance to explore and experience this dream. It made me more curious about whatever lay at the end of the touristic, glamorous landmarks. 

• Do you see your work in translation informing your editorial work at the museum?

I believe translation work is an exercise in empathy. It brings us closer to the fabric of other cultures and languages while at the same time, allowing us to accommodate the foreign and learn more about ourselves. I see my editorial work at the museum as an opportunity to bring the Romanian culture more into the light and at the same time, embrace further the language I write my poetry in, which is English.

• What are you currently reading, and what are you working on?

I am reading Stranger, Baby, by Emily Berry for my own taste and The Lonely Century, by Noreena Hertz for my reading club, both of which address loneliness and grief. I am also about to finish Trust, by Domenico Starnone, in Jhumpa Lahiri’s translation. Her ability to live in between languages and cultures, as well as her determination, is an inspiration. 

Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet with an MFA in Poetry from Adelphi University. A recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award, her poems and translations have appeared in Ambit, Waxwing, The Cortland Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of The Flavor of The Other, published in 2020 with Dos Madres Press, and Praise the Unburied, published with Chaffinch Press in 2021. She is the Review Editor of Ezra, An Online Journal of Translation.

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