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January 29, 2016

Video: Carmen Bugan on the Language of Memory

Romanian poet and author Carmen Bugan discussed at the 2015 edition the process of creating literary work from personal testimony.


Carmen Bugan is a Romanian poet and author of “Burying the Typewriter,” the internationally acclaimed memoir on life under the communist regime. At The Power of Storytelling 2015 in Bucharest, she talked about the process of creating literary work from personal testimony.

This is a video recording of her speech, and some highlights:

“When experience simply destroys the transaction of meaning or truth between a writer and her language, the notion of the place of writing itself becomes destabilized and abstracted.”
“We are all versions of the past, our past and that of the others, the past of our countries and the past of our languages.”

“To me the place of writing is a specific place (geographical, emotional, of the mind) understood from a sense of personal and artistic identity. I think of it as an originating kind of place that writers hold inside themselves, without which they cannot create—a kind of spiritual place, a soul, if you will.”

“I imagine that all writers, whether they admit to it or not, write from a locus of certitude about who they are. This is usually the language: They belong to a language and that language belongs to them, even if absolutely everything else falls apart.”