Spotlight On Writers - Vasile Trif, interview at

Spotlight On Writers – Vasile Trif

Spotlight On Writers

Vasile Trif


  1. Where do you originate from?

I was born into an art-loving family in Baia Mare, a town in northern Transylvania, Romania. The city is encircled on all sides by hills and mountains. The area is famous for its outstanding landscapes, and the mountains are easily accessible from the city. Baia Mare as called with its ancient name, Rivulus Dominarum (in English Ladies’ River) has a renowned school of painting. My father, an Orthodox priest, painter and sculptor, passed on to me his love for beauty, culture and books. As a child, I spent a lot of time in his studio, where I had my first contact with the world of colours and canvases. I still remember the intense smell of turpentine and oil colours.

In 2006 I moved to Canada and now live with my wife and son in Blainville, a small quiet town near Montreal. I have been looking for peace and nature that make you feel free and where you can breathe and unfold creatively, away from the noise of the metropolis.

Thirdly, spiritually speaking, I live in an inner continent, which is Thre Art – The Poetry where I feel at home. It’s a generous house with various rooms, with different facets like images in a kaleidoscope that invite you to explore and give you a special inner joy. You’re always discovering something new that gives you the enthusiasm to go further in the adventure of knowledge.

  1. What do you cherish most about the place you call home?

Your question sends me back to my childhood universe, full of books, as we had a generous library with countless art albums, which we explored with passion and curiosity. I had a beautiful collection of ceramics and old icons on glass from 19th century Transylvania. I grew up surrounded by them. Their naïve line that predates that of Gauguin, Chagall or Georges Rouault, as well as the atmosphere they conveyed, were imprinted in my inner being. I was fascinated by their composition, by the posture of the characters that seemed to speak to us and to convey a message. They carry an important message from a world beyond. Through my present activity, through what I write, I am trying to point to the interiority of the viewer or the reader. A tension of meaning, as the work or poem become essential points of crossing, places that make it possible to access our inner dimension, that make the Invisible visible. In the 1980s, in peasant families, there were yet many such icons, kept in attics, sometimes forgotten. My father used to travel between villages to buy these icons. The new, paper-printed icons, much more appealing to the eye, had unfortunately begun to replace those painted on glass. I no longer liked their naive but essentialised atmosphere and line. With civilisation and technology, unfortunately, kitsch, which is much more seductive but lacking in substance and essence, is also entering through the back door or the front door. I couldn’t wait to see what else he brought home – clay pots, plates – and I was the one who washed them of the layer of soot and oil, etc. Their smell was pungent, but the decorative elements of each pottery workshop came out after cleaning the objects and that was my great reward. It was the greatest joy for me. In the summer, my father would receive orders for mosaics for churches or carved wooden crosses and I enjoyed watching him work, preparing the porcelain pieces, cutting them and putting a pebble in the mosaic. When he carved the wooden crosses, I loved to feel the volume and smell the oak wood. I was fascinated by the carved motifs, the sun symbols and I liked to touch them. Discovering linocut later, I realised that these moments had an influence because I was attracted to this technique, although the material is different.

  1. What ignites your creativity?

I learned to be attentive, receptive, open to everything around me. At some point, something may catch my attention and there is a moment of grace, a triggering moment from which the poem builds itself, articulates itself from elements that appear as in a puzzle. The trigger point can be an emotion, a word, an image, a birdsong. Everything around us speaks, you just have to listen carefully.

  1. Do you have a favorite word and could you incorporate it into a poetic phrase?

In an ultra-connected world, dominated by the lightning speed of information, the ephemeral and the consumerism of the image, the poem itself has a sacred, purifying, cathartic function. It can balance and heal our inner eye. It has a thaumaturgical role, restoring deep meaning within us. For me it is important how words relate in a poem in order to build states, powerful sensations, inner feelings that lead the reader beyond materiality. It’s kind of hard to find the word that is closest to my soul. Perhaps the word gondola, which has a lot of musicality, it also sums up the meaning of love, of the journey into the unknown, of the unpredictability of the initiatory journey.


The nest with storks
a gondola among hundreds of others on the waters of the sky
mixed with blue clay waters
of the house covered with reeds
the young people wanted to demolish it
it is old and nobody lives in it anymore

the elders, however, kept counsel
it is the only house with storks in the village
and in that nest gather all the unspoken thoughts
from here and beyond
of which the birds take care of as their own eggs

it’s the only place
in which those departed among us can return home
to smell the wood and the clay
the only place
where on full moon nights
they can still send missives from the other world

the children always waited impatiently
that time of the return of the birds
their deep tracks on the warm glass map
and the mornings
when they were feeding their newly hatched, chicks that were
tapping their beaks
and the newly born words
that were receiving the meanings of the world.

for so long
now we know when to ascend the church tower
and lie in wait huddled together
in silence
the moment they spread their wings
and fly all at once.

  1. What is your pet peeve?

My pet peeve is that looking around I realize how immature and selfish man is in his behaviour. He is either preoccupied with gaining territory while ignoring the suffering of the other, or paradoxically destroying his habitat and the nature that sustains life and balance. It seems as if the more technical the more the attention and sensitivity is diminishing.

  1. How would you describe the essence of Vasile Trif?

I think I am defined by curiosity, the search for beauty and its artistic expression. Man himself is an explorer, he is like a fisherman who casts his net into the depths of life’s waters, takes risks and is intensely concerned to find food. The poet, the visual artist is such a fisherman who catches in his net all kinds of creatures that bring joy to the reader and the viewer, creatures that communicate with the receiver whenever he opens a book or enters a gallery or an art museum. Every artist is constantly searching to find his own way of expressing himself, his own style. We often search a lot outside, until we realise that we have the answers inside ourselves.

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This publication is part 397 of 400 in the series Spotlight On Writers