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Collected Poems and Translations
ISBN: 978 1 857545 81 4
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2002
216 x 135 x 33 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, Hardback
After the Arctic
Flew South, still drugged with white sunshine,
dry-skinned, already used to a few streets
between snow slopes, painted wooden
homes, mountains in every window.
We found fresh leaves on birch trees,
damp green of the first chestnut,
yellow blossom, all the tenderness
of English spring. And the next morning
we woke to birdsong, but were ill-tempered,
as if denied an accustomed euphoriant.
Elaine Feinstein's voice is clear, passionate and subtle. She writes about love, loss, jealousy and the pressures of living as mother and wife, drawing coherent shapes out of her own inner uncertainties, tenderly calling up an ageing father, a child on a swing, old films or a flowering cactus. Given her temperament, and her Russian-Jewish background, it is no wonder that her versions of Marina Tsvetaeva are celebrated, and that she brings such understanding to the translation of other Russian Writers - including Margarita Aliger, Yunna Moritz, and Bella Akhmadulina - and to Alexander Pushkin, whose biography she has written. Her landscape poems are always peopled, and the narrative and dramatic skills of a major novelist give an unexpected urgency to her evocation of classical and historic figures.
This Collected Poems and Translations is just that: work drawn from fourteen volumes of poems and translations published over thirty years.
Praise for Elaine Feinstein '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 '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
Poetry Watch Ruth Padel The Financial Times Saturday 16th November 2002
Elaine Feinstein 's Collected Poems and Translations combines east and west abroad, north and south at home. read more
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