Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Review: "My Poems..."

My Poems...: Selected PoetryMy Poems...: Selected Poetry by Marina Tsvetaeva

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I discovered Marina Tsvetaeva's poetry quite by accident, while searching the quotes at Goodreads. Her poems are full of fire and spirit, but also longing and heartbreak. I love this: "I have been blessed with these two gorgeous/ Wings and I refuse to load my heart with weights." There are bird and sky references throughout her poems, as well as a fierce determination to love or not love on her own terms.

There is a real progression here from her early poems--some written while not yet out of her teens--and the later ones. As she goes along, she gains gravitas and skill, but her youthful fire, though tempered, remains. Tsvetaeva doesn't rely much on poetic imagery, metaphors and the like, but rather engages the reader in an almost conversational tone which belies the skill of her writing. The poems are brief, and often terribly poignant.

The translator, Andrey Kneller, tries to retain the poetry and structure of Tsvetaeva's work, and not turn it into literally translated prose, or "stick figures" as he terms it. This is particularly important with a poet such as Tsvetaeva, because structure is crucial to her work. The original text, in Cyrillic, is on each odd-numbered page, and the English translation faces it.


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Sioux said...

A book of poetry, given 4 out of 5 stars by you, is high praise indeed.

Blogoratti said...

Seems like a fine read, and one I should add to my reading list. Thanks a lot for sharing and do enjoy the week!

Mama Zen said...

Putting this one on my list!