- Series: Twentieth-Century Classics
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (January 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140187596
- ISBN-13: 978-0140187595
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Selected Poems (Twentieth-Century Classics) Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Although generally less well known here than Pasternak, Akhmatova and Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva is counted by some critics as the greatest of these four major poets of postrevolutionary Russia. However, as veteran translator McDuff indicates in his introduction, the sounds of Russian poetrywhich to this day remains formally traditional in its use of rhyme and metercan never be captured in English. Further, Tsvetaeva presents a particularly difficult problem to the translator because her transcendent reputation rests precisely on the aural values of her verse. That said, McDuff must be congratulated for his brave attempt to reproduce those formal qualities. If we cannot have Tsvetaeva herself, these stand on their own as creditable English-language poems. The selection represents the entire scope of her remarkable career from her simple and charming early lyrics, first published in 1910 when she was 18, through those recounting her privations and hardships during the years of upheaval in Russia, to the poignant poems written in exile after 1922. It includes all her major long poems, such as the stunning Poem of the End. Although it is unclear whether Tsvetaeva was officially ostracized on her own account or because of the political actions of her husband Sergey Efron, her poems are heart-rending in view of her tragic life and eventual suicide. Love, the loss of youth, poetry and the Motherland are the core subjects of her poems, which are infused with high passion and a heroic tenacity of spirit. For non-Russian speakers, this volume is a new window on poetry in the Stalinist era.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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To be fair to the translator Feinstein, translation is extremely difficult, especially so with poetry. Yet it *can* be done well, capturing the flavor, emotion and (in exceptional cases) the sense of word-play that is so critical to this art form. I was disappointed, then, that in this instance, Tsvetaeva's voice was not captured as well as it deserves to be. I have not given up on this poet - but I cannot recommend this particular edition.
What I can say is that reading these poems I have a sense of true poetry. There is a depth of feeling and a passion, a soul being revealed in depth, a life in its sufferings and straining for beauty.
Perhaps more words are irrelevant, and I shall just give a few excerpts from the book.
From ' I know the truth'
'The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,
the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet,
And soon all of us will sleep under the earth,we
who never let each other sleep above it. '
From 'What is this gypsy passion for separation'
'that no one turning over our letters has
yet understood how completely and
how deeply faithless we are, which is
to say: how true we are to ourselves.'
From ' You loved me'
You loved me. And your lies had their own probity.
There was truth in every falsehood
Your love went far beyond any possible
boundary as no one else's could.
Your love seemed to last even longer
than time itself. Now you wave your hand-
and suddenly your love for me is over!
That is the truth in five words."
Some of my favorite quotes from segments of the book...
Because even more than God
himself I love his angels.
From: Bent with Worry
He is the one that mixes
Up the cards
And confuses arithmetic and weight
Demands answers from the school bench
Who altogether refutes Kant
From: The Poet
We entered one another's eyes
As if they were oases
All poets are Jews
Everything that I love changes from an external thing into an inward one, from the moment of my love, it stops being external (from the Introduction).
I can't attest to the authenticity of the translations, as I know little Russian, Reviews seem mixed; but Feinstein, for me, makes some engrossing connections of words that must ring true to some extent.