Women in Translation Month: Marina Tsvetaeva

The age of the Russian Revolution produced some extraordinary poetry, and the women poets deserve better recognition. For spot-on quick-fire dispatches from a period of unprecedented change, try Teffi, but for poetry, try Tsvetaeva, who died 76 years ago today. Glagoslav publications has produced a pocket-sized introduction to her Essential Poetry from the decade before and after the revolution, translated by Michael Naydan and Slava Yastremski.

Tsvetaeva was a great admirer of Akhmatova. Though she didn’t get to meet her in person until 1940, she dedicated poems to her:

TsvetaevaNazdanYastremskiMilepostsIIForAnnaAmakhtova170120

As the helpful notes explain, the perfect circle here refers to the way the Garden of Eden was depicted in Orthodox icons:

AllCreationRejoicesIconMoscowXVIc

Tsvetaeva’s passion was certainly not restricted to her faith. One of her earliest poem cycles was dedicated to her lover and fellow poet Sophia Parnok. It turns religious imagery around in ways you don’t expect:

TsvetaevaNazdanYastremskiGirlfriend150506

Tsvetaeva’s later work shows how the imperial Russia she grew up in is being torn apart, as in this extract from her long poem, The End (1924):

TsvetaevaNazdanYastremskiPoemOfTheEnd1924

Tsvetaeva could not remain unaffected by the troubled times she lived in: her husband fought in the White Guard and was killed by the Bolsheviks, she was exiled to Prague and Paris, returning to the USSR in 1939 only to commit suicide two years later. She pours everything into her writing:

TsvetaevaNazdanYastremski170106

She did not stop there, and finally, the translations are catching up. New English editions of her notebooks from exile, After Russia, translated by Christopher Whyte, are coming out later this year and in 2018, published by Shearsman Books. As this month of reading women in translation draws to a close, that’s just one more new book to look out for. The month is almost over, but the reading is not…

 

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in books, gender, poetry, translation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Barańczak Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Children's Books Children's literature Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Clarice Lispector Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin left-handed Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Old English Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Pippi Longstocking Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Queer Roald Dahl Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Ryszard Kapuściński Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Shakespeare Short Stories Slovene Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Terhi Ekebom Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Turkey Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: