Valery Oisteanu (Romanian: Valery Oișteanu; Romanian pronunciation: [valeˈri o.iʃˈte̯anu]; 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. Oisteanu is the author of more than a dozen 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 Oișteanu.
Oisteanu was born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, raised and educated in Romania, where he was known as Valeriu Oișteanu ([vaˈlerju]). He graduated from the Department of Chemical Industry of the Politechnical Institute in Bucharest.
In 1970, Oisteanu 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 English ever since.
Oisteanu 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 art.es, and the Canadian magazine D'Art International. Oișteanu is a member of Poets and Writers Inc. in New York and the founder and president of PASS: Poets and Artists Surrealist Society.
Poetry written in English
- Underground Shadows (Pass Press, New York, 1977)
- Underwater Temples (Pass Press, New York, 1979)
- Do Not Defuse (Pass Press, New York, 1980)
- Vis-a-vis Bali (poems and photographic collage; New Observation Press, New York, 1985)
- Passport to Eternal Life (Pass Press, New York, 1990)
- Moons of Venus (Pass Press, New York, 1992)
- Temporary Immortality (Pass Press, New York, 1995)
- ZEN DADA (Linear Art Press, New York, 1999)
- Perks in Purgatory (Fly by Night Press,New York, 2009)
- Anarchy for a Rainy Day (Spuyten Duyvil, New York, 2015)
- Lighter Than Air (Spuyten Duyvil, New York, 2017)
Poetry written or translated to Romanian:
- Proteze ("Prosthesis"), Editura Litera, Bucharest, 1970
- Poeme din Exil ("Poems from Exile"), Editura Paralela 45, Pitești, 2000
Prose written in English
- The King of Penguins (Linear Arts Books, New York, 2000)
- "The Drum Circle for Janine Pommy Vega" – this tribute to Janine Pommy Vega (1942–2010) on Pierre Joris's blog includes this homage-poem written by Oişteanu in honor of Pommy-Vega
- "The Life and Death of John Badum" & "Lorenzo Perrone — The Righteous Gentile" – these 2 "stories" by Oisteanu are about two true life figures: fashion designer John Badum, who was murdered in May 1999; and Lorenzo Perrone, friend and "guardian angel" to the world famous writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi
- on YouTube, Meditation/Mediation is described as "an ongoing project conceived by Daniel Rothbart in collaboration with Valery Oisteanu. Curated by Lisa Paul Streitfeld, The Lab Gallery, New York, NY, April 24, 2005"
- At The Caves of the Wind: Cretan Meditations – an "essay-meditation" about Crete which Oisteanu first visited in July, 1977
- Vispo Collage from Valery Oişteanu – some poetry-collages (or visual poetry) by Oisteanu
- MARCEL BROODTHAERS, The Living Mirror – Oisteanu writes about Marcel Broodthaers for The Brooklyn Rail, published in October 2010
- Where have the Real Famous gone? to Andy Warhol – a poem by Oisteanu