First Language(s): Romanian
Second Language(s): English, Spanish, French, Italian
Adriana Oniță is a poet, artist, educator, and researcher with a PhD in Education. Her poems appear on the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize Shortlist, in The Globe and Mail, in her chapbook Conjugated Light (Glass Buffalo, 2019), and in the Romanian Women Voices in North America series. She is the founding editor of The Polyglot and the editorial director of the Griffin Poetry Prize.
What was your favorite book as a child?
As a child, I loved Scufiţa Roşie, or Little Red Riding Hood. I would ask my mom to read/tell the story 100 times, and each time, I would question why the details were slightly altered. As an adult, I still read children’s books all the time. Among my favourites are Ceci est un poème qui guérit les poissons (Jean-Pierre Siméon and Olivier Tallec), Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox (Danielle Daniel), and Life Doesn’t Frighten Me (Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat). In 2022, I visited the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and got inspired to create my own — or collaborate with my son Rafael to write and illustrate multilingual books for kids!
What was the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?
Perhaps writing is a natural impulse for those who love listening to stories or devouring books as if they were biscuiți. Mama, Mamaie (my grandma), and my aunties in Romania are captivating storytellers, so I grew up with that instinct cultivated by them. Also, I had an unforgettable elementary teacher in Edmonton, Canada, Mrs. Becker, who encouraged me to keep writing. Recently I found one of her notes while going through my parents’ basement, in which she said, “What an excellent writer you are! I love all the description, detail, and suspense — great techniques! Keep up the awesome writing.” I collaged her message into my current notebook.
What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?
In 2014, my partner and I decided to move to Bologna, Italy — a city neither of us had ever been to. Every day was a thrill. Living together for the first time, mastering Italian, getting a job, taking poetry workshops, making new friends. Era solo l'inizio di una grande avventura insieme. It set the stage for a spontaneous and adventurous life together.
Do you listen to music while reading or writing?
I prefer silence while reading and writing. When I listen to music, I like to devote my whole attention to one album at a time.
Issue Spring '23