Sophia Parnok

Poems by Sophia Parnok

Was a Russian poet, journalist and translator. From the age of six, she wrote poetry in a style quite distinct from the predominant poets of her times, revealing instead her own sense of Russianness, Jewish identity and lesbianism. Besides her literary work, she worked as a journalist under the pen name of Andrei Polianin. She has been referred to as "Russia's Sappho", as she wrote openly about her seven lesbian relationships.

Sonya Yakovlevna Parnokh was born into a well-to-do family of professional Jews in a provincial city outside the Pale of Settlement. Her mother died after giving birth to her twin siblings and she was raised by her father and her step-mother, leaving her feeling her childhood lacked emotional support. From a young age, she wrote poetry and acknowledged her uniqueness — her lesbianism, her Graves’ disease, and her religion — which set her apart from her peers.

Completing her studies at the Mariinskaya Gymnasium in 1894, Parnokh attempted to study music in Geneva, but lacked any real drive and quickly returned to Moscow. To distance herself from her father’s control and her financial dependence on him, she published her first book of poems in 1906 under the pseudonym Sophia Parnok and married Vladimir Volkenstein in 1907. Within two years, the marriage failed and she began working as a journalist.

From 1913, Parnok exclusively had relationships with women and used those love relationships to fuel her creativity. In a succession of relationships with Marina Tsvetaeva, Lyudmila Erarskaya, Olga Tsuberbiller, Maria Maksakova and Nina Vedeneyeva, her muses propelled her to publish five collections of poetry and write several librettos for opera, before her disease claimed her life in 1933.

Barred from publication of her poetry after 1928, Parnok's works were mostly forgotten until after the Soviet period. Increased scholarship since that time, resulted in the publication of her collected works for the first time in 1979. While scholars have focused on her early influential relationship with Tsvetaeva, her best works are now recognized as those written from 1928.

Wikipedia.

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in german

Sofija Parnok, gedichte (deutsch)

1913

1919

1929

1932

in french

Sophia Parnok, des poèmes (français)

1915

in spanish

Sofía Parnok, poemas (español)

1919

in italian

Sofija Parnok, poesie (italiano)

1916

1919

1922

1929

1931

in dutch

Sofia Parnok, gedichten (nederlands)

1912

in romanian

Sophia Parnok, poezii (română)

1919

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