I picked young nettles while an April moon shone
And while the trees sang cradle-song for the shy grass and
The first lizards bathed in sunlight after a long eclipse.
‘The poetry of Emilia Ivancu invites us to discover a culture largely unknown to readers of Western literature. Here, in the greater Danube basin east of Budapest, a world of myth and symbolism remains intact. And while history will tell us that the open plains and remote mountains of the Balkans were the stage on which the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires fought, in the literatures of the region we find other mysteries, and the thread of narratives that reach back not centuries but millenia.’ - Diarmuid Johnson
In Washing My Hair with Nettles, Emilia Ivancu describes a natural world that lives as profoundly and passionately as the people who inhabit it. The landscape of her poetry resonates with soul and animism: mountains dream of music, wild creatures heal wounds, and women tread the thin line between modern day reality and traditional myth with delicate respect.
Dark mythology, our pagan roots and the duality of nature, in both its destructive and its nourishing forces, are all here in this evocative, unsettling poetry collection. Emilia Ivancu uses words and rhythm with a precision that reaches through verse to invocation.
‘Throughout this collection, Ivancu goes to places that only “shamans and poets” can. Beautiful, seductive, bewitching.’ - Jemma L King