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Elaine Feinstein

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  • Elaine Feinstein is a poet, novelist, and biographer. She has received  many prizes, including a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry, Society of Authors', Wingate and Arts Council Awards, the Daisy Miller Prize for her experimental novel The Circle, (long-listed for the ‘lost’ Man Booker prize in 2010) and an Honorary D.Litt from the University of Leicester. She has travelled across the world to read her poems, and her books have been translated into most European languages; also Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Her versions of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, a New York Times Book of the Year, have remained in print since 1971. She was given a major grant from the Arts Council to write her most recent novel, The Russian Jerusalem, a phantasmagoric mix of prose and poetry (Carcanet, 2008). She has served on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, of which she is a Fellow, as a judge for most of the current literary prizes, and  as Chair of the Judges for the T.S.Eliot Award. She received a Civil List Pension in 2010.     

    Elaine Feinstein has a page on the Poetry Archive website, where you can listen to recordings of her reading from her work, and access other useful resources. Click here.


     ELAINE FEINSTEIN grew up in Leicester. In 1990 she received an Honorary D.Lit. from the University there. She read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. She has published over thirty books, including fiction and biography, and written for radio and television and reviews for The Times and Poetry Review. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1980. In 1990 she received a Cholmondeley Award and was given an Honorary DLit from the University of Leicester. She has received three Arts Council Translation awards. Carcanet publish her Selected Poems.
       
       
    Praise for Elaine Feinstein  'Written with a disarming honesty and directness, an unflinchingly wide-awake clarity. Difficult things - from the death of a husband to insomnia - have seldom seemed quite so beguilingly common to us all.'
    The Tablet


    'conversational in tone, bravely extravagant in spirit' Alison Brackenbury in The Poetry Review 'She is an extremely fine poet. She has a sinewy, tenacious way of penetrating and exploring the core of her subject that seems to me unique. Her simple, clean language follows the track of the nerves. There is nothing hit or miss, nothing for effect, nothing false. Reading her poems one feels cleansed and sharpened.'
    Ted Hughes
    'Like numerous English readers, I owe my discovery of Tsvetaeva to the multi-talented poet and writer, Elaine Feinstein... Feinstein's translations prove that a poem can be re-born in its adoptive language.'
    Carol Rumens
    'Elaine Feinstein has made the juncture between poetry and memoir her own. As befits a poet who is also a master of fiction and biography, she writes with casual erudition and an acute storyteller's eye. Her forays into European culture and history are dazzling. Cities is a profoundly humane, intimate exploration of the places and stages by which a life acquires meaning.'
    Fiona Sampson
     'For more than 40 years, Feinstein has been writing intensely lyrical, finely crafted poems. Those in [Talking to the Dead] are honest and moving, and are among her very best.'
    No. 1 in
    'The Ten Best New poetry collections' - the Independent, 2007
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