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Selected Poems

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  15 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
During the Stalin years Russia had four great poets to voice the feelings of her oppressed people: Pasternak, Akhmatova, Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetayeva. The first two survived the terror, but Mandelstam died in a camp and Tsvetayeva was driven to hang herself in 1941. This comprehensive selection of Tsvetayeva's poetry includes complete versions of all her major long poe ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 1987 by Bloodaxe Books
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Bloodaxe edition, translated by David McDuff
4.5 for the introduction, about a quarter of the book
3 for the poems in translation

I don't think modern rhymed translation necessarily makes poems sound trivial in English, but it needs to be done very carefully so that doesn't happen. Regardless, for me, too much of Tsvetaeva seems to get lost in translation whether rhymed or un. When particular lines, or occasionally whole poems felt most alive, it was different bits in this version and in Feinstein'
Jun 24, 2010 Rodney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wait, I'm confused. The book description above is the same as for the Tsvetaeva collection Elaine Feinstein translated for Penguin, and carries the same reader reviews. The Bloodaxe book I'm holding is translated by David McDuff, and it's awful. It's awful because it rhymes. I know Tsvetaeva in Russian rhymes, and the boxy quatrains he favors are probably hers, too. I know the temptation clever translators feel to stretch their chops and replicate rhyme in English. I know that given the rich mil ...more
May 08, 2008 Ilze rated it it was amazing
Two trees want to be with one another,
Two trees, right opposite my home.
The trees are old. The house is old
I am young, or it may well be
I would not pity the trees of others
The smaller one stretches forth its arms,
Like a woman, strains its very utmost -
It is cruel to watch how it strains
To that one, that other one which is
Older, firmer and - who is to know? -
Even more unhappy, it may well be

Two trees: in the flow of sunset
And in the rain, even under snow
Always, always: one to the other,
Feb 06, 2016 Bethan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Big in Russia but somewhat neglected for Western audiences, which is a shame.

Tsvetaeva had a very interesting life and lived a difficult life in ways e.g. through a famine (her younger daughter starved to death in an orphanage - Marina thought she might get food there), the Russian revolution, her husband and daughter were convicted on espionage charges, she sometimes lived abroad, she committed suicide, etc.

Even though I haven't seen anyone else say so, it seems obvious to me that she is part
May 23, 2014 Emma rated it liked it
Not my fave rave.
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Марина Цветаева
Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow. Her father, Ivan Tsvetayev, was a professor of art history and the founder of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her mother Mariya, née Meyn, was a talented concert pianist. The family travelled a great deal and Tsvetaeva attended schools in Switzerland, Germany, and at the Sorbonne, Paris. Tsvetaeva started to write verse in her early childhood. She mad
More about Marina Tsvetaeva...

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