Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva

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"A poet of genius."--Vladimir Nabokov

Via what Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine call "readings"--not translations--of fragments of Marina Tsvetaeva's poems and prose, Tsvetaeva's lyrical genius is made accessible and poignant to a new generation of readers. By juxtaposing fragments of her poems with short pieces of prose, we begin to know her as poet, friend, enemy, woman, lover, and revolutionary.

From "Poems for Moscow (2)":

From my hands--take this city not made by hands,

my strange, my beautiful brother.

Take it, church by church--all forty times forty churches,
and flying up over them, the small pigeons;

And Spassky Gates--in their flower--
where the Orthodox take off their hats;

And the Chapel of Stars--refuge chapel--
where the floor is--polished by tears;

Take the circle of the five cathedrals,
my soul, my holy friend.

Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow in 1892 and died in 1941. Her poetry stands among the greatest works of twentieth century Russian writers.

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the Whiting Writers' Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship awarded annually by Poetry magazine.

Jean Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets award for Dream Barker in 1965. Her eleventh book of poetry is Break the Glass, from Copper Canyon Press. Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965-2003 was the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry.

Publication Date: 
December 4, 2012