In these poems, Nicholas Catanoy recreates the diary that he kept as a young cadet in Romania when he was imprisoned by the invading Russians. Taken out three times to be executed, Catanoy was one of the few from among the 200 prisoners to survive the random executions. After being released, Catanoy recreated in this memoir the impact of being a prisoner of the 20th-century's various 'isms.
The text comprises two different voices, and is filled with found-poetry quotations and the poet's own aphoristic reflections. Catanoy breaks down the old generic categories; he asks us to read backwards as well as forwards - to find that humanity lies in the fissures of present-day society. As Catanoy himself admits, there is no dignity in what he experienced in prison. And yet Notes on a Prison Wall dignifies the human spirit.
Nicholas Catanoy was born in Romania in 1925 and studied medicine and philosophy in Cluj-Napoca. He emigrated to Canada in 1962 and became a naturalized citizen six years later. From 1962 to 1970 he worked as a radiologist in Montreal and Fredericton. Since 1970 he has travelled widely, making his home in France and Germany. He writes in Romanian, French, German, English and Spanish and is the author of 30 books.