Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Recent books include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, 2020). Her poetry collection, dor, won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize and is forthcoming in July 2021. Her first poetry chapbook, Objects in Vases (Anchor & Plume Press, 2016) won the 2016 Award for Poetry Book of the Year from ASPS. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Prize and was published in 2018. Alina's writing can be found (or is forthcoming) in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, BOMB, FLOCK, Apofenie, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, and others. She serves as poetry editor for several journals, and literary critic for others, and Co-Director of PEN America's Birmingham Chapter.

A Series of Hind-Sites

Spaces and Traces in Self-Translation

Ruins invite speculation by invoking memory and creating a relationship between the spectator and the object: we imagine the structure that existed, and it is the context of imagining what it was that valorises. It is speculation, which is to say the formulation of an unstable narrative, brought to the page, rendered public, that distinguishes a stack of abandoned bricks from an old fortress. I want to think about ruins in poetry — the words of others as they enter our own writing, the places we imagined ourselves inside, the way translation, itself, destroys in order to create based on a theory, a personal valorisation. I want to narrow the distance between wandering through ruins and diving into the wreck. What is an accident given hindsight? What is time given the assumption of presence that haunts the ruin? And how to begin an essay that excavates, and ruins, its own premise?