The Berlin Poems: 1922

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 and lived with her family in increasing poverty 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.

This edition present Marina Tsvetaeva’s poems published in Berlin after her flight from Moscow with Ariadna, and reunification with her husband Sergei Efron. Tsvetaeva found herself among a large Russian émigré community but often felt isolated due to her outspokenness and the uniqueness of her poetic voice. Her Berlin poems are characterized by intense emotional and philosophical depth. They grapple with themes of displacement, poverty, and the sense of loss—both personal, following the death of her daughter, and cultural, as a result of her separation from Russia

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Kline, A. S.

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