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Valery Oişteanu (born September 3, 1943) is a Soviet-born Romanian and American poet, art critic, essayist, photographer and performance artist, whose style reflects the influence of Dada and Surrealism. Oişteanu is the author of more than a dozen published books of poetry, a book of short fiction, and a book of essays. He is the brother of Romanian historian of religion, cultural anthropologist and writer Andrei Oişteanu.

Oişteanu was born in Karaganda, Kazakh SSR, raised and educated in Romania. He graduated from the Department of Chemical Industry of the Politechnical Institute in Bucharest.

In 1970, Oişteanu made his literary debut in Romania with a collection of poems called Proteze. Due to his Jewish ancestry, the communist regime allowed him to emigrate to New York City in 1972 or 1973, and he has been writing in the English language ever since.

Oişteanu adopted Dada and Surrealism as a philosophy of art and life.He appears regularly at poetry readings in various New York venues, where he presents original performances of Zen and Dada-inspired "jazzoetry". He is a freelance art critic and on the permanent staff of several arts magazines, including The Brooklyn Rail, NYArts, Rain Taxi, the Spanish publication, and the Canadian magazine D'Art International. Oişteanu is a member of Poets and Writers Inc. in New York and the founder and president of PASS: Poets and Artists Surrealist Society.


Manifesto for the Abolition of Bureaucracy

To be and not to be…
In a failed American democracy
Watch the surf going up
While the Navy bombs beaches of Kuwait
Can we survive the environmental conspicuous consumption?
Living next to the nuke dump, next to the oil drilling
Can you keep any individuality in the age of cloning?
Can you be yourself in a genetically brain manipulation society
Let’s abolish medieval bureaucracy
Abandon the shabby machines of voting
The rigged system behind closed doors
De-vote Electoral College
Delete the obsolete elite
Dissolve two party systems
To be or not to be an American radical is the question
Dissent by any means necessary
Against cultural colonialism
Art as an instrument of exploitation should be abolished
All artists should go on strike
Against the prostitution of the art institutions
Against art as money laundering machine
Against the academies, the prizes, the competitions
And the army of dealers, auctioneers and agents
Power to the creative!
Power to the poets who are resisting greed, hate and intolerance
Ride the volcano of revolution into the sea
Blessed are the shamans, the stray holy-men of jazz
The underground gurus who are proving
That the collective subconscious is not a given
It has to be created
So power to the creators!

From the book of poems and collages:
"Perks in Purgatory" by Valery Oisteanu,
Fly By Night Press, New York, 2009