Marina Tsvetaeva

Poems by Marina Tsvetaeva

One of the giants of Russian and world poetry, Tsvetayeva was endowed with brilliant poetic gifts that were dealt the crudest, harshest fate. Her father, the son of a rural priest, was a Moscow University professor and founder of the Moscow Museum of Fine Arts. Her mother, of German and Polish extraction, was a pianist who studied under Anton Rubinstein. During her gymnasium years she often traveled in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Her first collection of poems, Vechernii al'bom (Evening Album), was published in 1910.

If Anna Akhmatova is the custodian of classical traditions, then Tsvetayeva is the innovator, equaled in explosive power, perhaps, only by Vladimir Mayakovsky. Her poetry is a mighty Niagara of passion, pain, metaphor, and music. It contains elements of the incantations and lamentations of Russian antiquity; it has the muscularity of a wrestler. The semantic enjambements and unexpected rhythmic leaps are Tsvetayeva’s lightning-shaped signature. Even her intimate lyrics are imbued with a ferocious symphonic quality that exceeds the chamber music bounds one usually associates with such poetry. Her genius is apparent also in her prose, her articles, her correspondence, and her personal conduct.

In 1919 Tsvetayeva produced in three months a long (150-page) narrative in verse called Tsar-devitsa (Maiden-Tsar) based on a well-known Russian folk tale; her remarkable artistic power made her in fact the real Maiden-Tsar of Russian literature. She followed her husband, Sergey Efron, in emigration to Paris in 1922. Her pride would not allow her to accommodate herself to emigre circles, and she found no understanding in Russia after she and her family returned in 1937 in the midst of the Great Terror. Her husband was arrested and shot; her sister was arrested and imprisoned; her daughter was arrested, fated to spend nineteen years in labor camps. Tsvetayeva was evacuated during World War II to Yelabuga on the Kama River near Kazan, and she hanged herself there in a moment of despair and loneliness. Tsvetayeva has had an enormous influence on the poetry of both men and women. Her poetry now is published widely in her homeland.

1906

1907

1908

1909

1910

1911

1912

1913

1914

1915

1916

1917

1918

1919

1920

1921

1922

1923

1924

1925

1934

1935

1939

1943

in german

Marina Zwetajewa, gedichte (deutsch)

1906

1907

1908

1909

1910

1911

1912

1913

1914

1915

1916

1917

1924

1925

1931

in french

Marina Tsvetaïeva, des poèmes (français)

1917

1922

in spanish

Marina Tsvietáieva, poemas (español)

1910

1913

1914

1916

1923

1924

in italian

Marina Cvetaeva, poesie (italiano)

1913

1915

1916

1917

1920

1924

1926

1936

in portuguese

Marina Tzvietáeiva, poemas (português)

1918

1921

1923

1924

1926

1934

1939

in hungarian

Marina Cvetajeva, versek (magyar)

1915

1916

in dutch

Marina Tsvetajeva, gedichten (nederlands)

1910

1923

1943

in finnish

Marina Tsvetajeva, runoja (suomi)

1915