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Bride of Ice

New Selected Poems

Marina Tsvetaeva

Translated by Elaine Feinstein

Foreword by Elaine Feinstein

Bride of Ice: New Selected Poems by Marina Tsvetaeva
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 60 8
Categories: 20th Century, Jewish, Russian, Translation, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: June 2009
216 x 135 x 15 mm
140 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
  • Description
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  • Now through the window crack
    I dream another dream

    Darkness over a track,
    and I am with my son.
    The blood congeals in my veins.
    Let some guide lead us on!

                    from 'On a Red Horse' by Marina Tsvetaeva
    When Elaine Feinstein first read the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva in Russian in the 1960s, the encounter transformed her. 'What drew me to her initially,' she writes, 'was the intensity of her emotions, and the honesty with which she exposed them.' Her translations, first published to great acclaim in 1971, introduced Tsvetaeva to English readers. It was the start of Feinstein's continuing engagement with a poet who has been an enduring, challenging inspiration to her, and whose life she has written.

    To this enlarged edition Elaine Feinstein adds five major pieces. 'Girlfriend', a sequence of lyrics, was written for Tsvetaeva's lover Sofia Parnok. In 'New Year's Greetings' she responded to the death of Rainer Maria Rilke. 'On a Red Horse' is a dramatic fairytale of power and cruelty. 'Wires', of which two lyrics were included in the earlier edition, now appears in full; and a previously omitted lyric from 'Poem of the End' has been translated. With a new introduction, notes and bibliography of works in English, Bride of Ice brings Tsvetaeva to a new generation of readers.

    Cover painting: Seated Woman with Bent Knee (detail) by Egon Schiele 1917. Copyright The Bridgeman Art Library. Cover design by StephenRaw.com
    List of Collaborators
    Introduction

    Poems
    Verse
    from GIRLFRIEND
    Your narrow, foreign shape
    I know the truth
    What is this gipsy passion for separation
    We shall not escape Hell
    Some ancestor of mine
    I’m glad your sickness
    We are keeping an eye on the girls
    No one has taken anything away
    You throw back your head
    Where does this tenderness come from?
    Bent with worry
    Today or tomorrow the snow will melt
    VERSES ABOUT MOSCOW 
    from INSOMNIA
    POEMS FOR AKHMATOVA
    POEMS FOR BLOK
    A kiss on the head
    from SWANS’ ENCAMPMENT
    Yesterday he still looked in my eyes
    To Mayakovsky
    ON A RED HORSE
    Praise to the Rich
    God help us Smoke!
    Ophelia: In Defence of the Queen
    from WIRES
    Sahara
    The Poet
    Appointment
    Rails
    You loved me
    It’s not like waiting for post
    My ear attends to you
    As people listen intently
    Strong doesn’t mate with strong
    In a world
    POEM OF THE MOUNTAIN
    POEM OF THE END
    An Attempt at Jealousy 
    To Boris Pasternak 
    New Year’s Greetings 
    from THE RATCATCHER
    from Chapter 1 
    from Chapter 2: Dreams 
    from The Children’s Paradise 
    from POEMS TO A SON 
    Homesickness
    I opened my veins
    Epitaph 
    Readers of Newspapers 
    Desk 
    Bus 
    When I look at the flight of the leaves 
    from POEMS TO CZECHOSLOVAKIA 

    Notes 
    Select Bibliography of Works in English 
    Appendix: Note on Working Method by Angela Livingstone
    Marina Tsvetaeva
    Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow in 1892. Her father was a professor of art history at the University of Moscow, who later founded the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts; her mother was a pianist. In 1903 Tsvetaeva's mother contracted tuberculosis and the family travelled abroad for her health until ... read more
    Elaine Feinstein
    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 ... read more
    Awards won by Elaine Feinstein Commended, 2017 The Poetry Book Society Special Commendation (The Clinic, Memory)
    '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
    Praise for Marina Tsvetaeva 'Marina Tsvetaeva was the first of the modern Russian poets whose greatness really came clear to me, thanks to these translations. Feinstein has performed the first, indispensable task of a great translator: she has captured a voice.'
    Alan Williamson, Threepenny Review
     'Represented on a graph, Tsvetaeva's work would exhibit a curve - or rather, a straight line - rising at almost a right angle because of her constant effort to raise the pitch a note higher, an idea higher (or, more precisely, an octave and a faith higher.) She always carried everything she has to say to its conceivable and expressible end. In both her poetry and her prose, nothing remains hanging or leaves a feeling of ambivalence. Tsvetaeva is the unique case in which the paramount spiritual experience of an epoch (for us, the sense of ambivalence, of contradictoriness in the nature of human existence) served not as the object of expression but as its means, by which it was transformed into the material of art.'
    Joseph Brodsky.
    Praise for Elaine Feinstein   'Here we have a life, a person in the world opened up with intelligence and tact.'
    Martina Evans, The Irish Times
      'Here we have a life, a person in the world opened up with intelligence and tact.'
    Martina Evans, The Irish Times
      'Here we have a life, a person in the world opened up with intelligence and tact.'
    Martina Evans, The Irish Times
      'Here we have a life, a person in the world opened up with intelligence and tact.'
    Martina Evans, The Irish Times
    '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
    'All poets are Jews, said Marina Tsvetaeva. Elaine Feinstein, Britain's most distinguished Jewish poet, was her first translator into English and has a wonderful wiry lyricism of her own, influenced both by Russian poetry and by Charles Olson and the Black Mountain poets. She has written here a unique blend of poetry, history and personal memoir, a descent into the heartbreaking and ground breaking vistas of Russian Jewry, and Russian literary figures of the twentieth century. The poets of genius whom she did not know alive, she knows equally intimately in the best way in which one poet knows another - by learning, reading, studying, translating. The book opens with her memories of renting a flat in a rundown quarter of St Petersberg in 2005, and also with Marina Tsetaeva accepting, as Virgil accepted for Dante, the role of guide to the underworld of colourful and talented figures Feinstein has known in her rich literary life, both in Russia, London and Cambridge.'
    Ruth Padel
    'In this fascinating, lyrical meditation on literature, politics, suffering and friendship, Elaine Feinstein - a biographer of poets and a poet of the first rank herself - takes us on a richly imagined journey through a lost literary archipelago, and reconstructs the lives and fates of Russian, often Jewish, writers during the long age of Soviet terror. Combining family history, travels through modern Russia and very personal encounters with famous ghosts, Feinstein evokes, throughpoetry and prose, both the inferno of cruelty and persecutions, and a golden Jerusalem of creativity, talent and intense literary bonds. This is a moving, original work, for which Feinstein has created a selection of poems worthy of the predecessors she admires.'
    Eva Hoffman
     'Talking to the Dead is arguably Elaine Feinstein's best collection. Beautifully crafted, deeply felt, totally earned, these poems of love and bereavement, and more, will expand her readership well beyond the readers and writers of contemporary poetry who have long loved and treasured her exemplary contribution to the art.'
    Carol Ann Duffy
     'Beautiful, generous, wonderfully intense poems ... Anyone who has ever felt comforted in grief by words, or who has lived through that tension between tenderness, longing and guilt, will recognize their precision and their truth.'
    Ruth Padel
     'These are more than elegies, they are alchemy; the emotional force of the book is so strong that the dead come walking out of the pages.'
    Jo Shapcott
    'The strangeness of visited cities, with their fearful histories, has been transmuted here by the responses of a truly gifted poet.'
    Dannie Abse
     'Cities presents itself as the work of old age, but readers expecting regret or renunciation will be surprised by the affirmative character of this book. While Elaine Feinstein revisits Europe in the aftermath of Nazism, she also praises the good fortune of having lived richly in the sphere of literature and travelled widely among remarkable people. The poems here are lit with striking clarity - things retain their outline and solidity to an unusual degree.'
    Sean O'Brien
    '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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