Press Release

In the Most Beautiful Life
Photographs by Virginia Joffe
Poems by Carmen Firan

This lovely collection of poetry and photography binds together several worlds: those of two artists, two women, two languages, two media. All gain in the process: the poet’s images become more visual, the photographer’s captures more mysterious, the English language more affective, the Romanian more specific—and the two women make one art. May all our fusion’s work like this!
—Andrei Codrescu

A beautiful and poetic celebration and collaboration in words and photographs of contemporary Romania and its people by noted New York photographer Virginia Joffe and Romanian poet Carmen Firan memorializing a time when the old world collapses and a new one has not yet appeared.

Carmen Firan’s words are filled with the magical realism of a place that seems, occasionally, harshly ultra-real, and at others, like pure fairy-tale while Virginia Joffe’s memorable photographs portray unique hybrid creatures that have emerged in Romania from the cracks between millennia. Firan’s prose and Joffe’s images record the turning over of the wheel of time, the changing of once seemingly immutable orders, the anguish of people struggling to escape history and to understand themselves.


CARMEN FIRAN, born in Romania, is a poet and fiction writer. She has published ten books of poetry, novels, essays and short stories, as well as several plays and film scripts. Her writings appear in translation in many literary magazines and in various anthologies in France, Israel, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

VIRGINIA JOFFE, a photographer and writer studied at the International Center of Photography. She is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work and a former president of the New York Women’s Foundation. She has traveled to Romania four times and her exhibition, "Romania–Sites of Its Memory," was held in 2000 at the Romanian Cultural Center in New York City. Joffe’s work has been shown in numerous venues in New York and Massachusetts and is in many private collections.

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