Five Hard Pieces

Translations and Readings of Five Long Poems by Marina Tsvetaeva


Diana Lewis Burgin, noted scholar and internationally known translator of Russian prose and poetry, offers her original English verse translations of five long poems by Marina Tsvetaeva, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest twentieth-century Russian poets. Burgin’s translations, the majority of which appear in print here for the first time, aim at total fidelity to the challenging meter, rhythm, and meaning as well as some of the rhyme of the Russian originals. Each translation is accompanied by a detailed, line-by-line explication of the Russian text as well as a meditation on the poem’s often hidden thematic relationship to the other poems in this group of five and to Tsvetaeva’s work as a whole. The connective tissue between these five difficult pieces can be seen as magical, as the deep-lying texture of each is woven with allusions to alchemy, oneiromancy and, most notably, Kabbalah.

Related Subjects: