Twenty-Four Poems from Marina Tsvetaeva

Tsvetaeva, Marina (1892–1941), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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Marina Tsvetaeva (1892–1941) was a significant Russian poet whose work spans the turbulent early 20th century. She engaged with themes of love, alienation, and the struggle of the individual against society. Tsvetaeva chronicled the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Moscow famine during which her daughter Irina starved to death in a state orphanage. She left Russia in 1922 to live in increasing poverty with her family in Paris, Berlin and Prague before returning to Moscow in 1939. Tsvetaeva’s life ended in suicide in 1941, following the arrest and execution of her husband Sergei Efron for alleged espionage, and the arrest of their daughter Ariadna (Alya). She was connected to fellow poets Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam, and Anna Akhmatova, although her relationship with them and the wider Soviet literary establishment was somewhat strained. Her legacy is that of one of Russia’s most intense and passionate poetic voices, albeit one that only received widespread recognition posthumously.

The selected poems of this edition explore a constellation of themes. Tsvetaeva’s work often reflects on exile (In Paris) and the deep-rooted yearning for a homeland (Homesickness), overlaid with the personal upheavals and societal pressures that shaped her era. Themes of love feature prominently (Why such tenderness?), examining its transient nature, its capacity to evoke tenderness, provoke jealousy (Attempted Jealousy), and its intersection with sorrow and loss.

Author Details

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Kline, A. S.

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