After Russia =: Posle Rossii

Michael M. Naydan, Other Ardis Publishers $32.5 (281p) ISBN 978-0-87501-076-2
Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) said she wrote After Russia in a creative ``thunderstorm,'' from ``lightning flash to lightning flash.'' The image aptly describes the poems here--overflowing force, darkness pierced by bright light--as well as her tragic existence. Written in Berlin and Prague and published in 1928, After Russia was to be Tsvetaeva's last collection. She then returned to Russia, where she committed suicide in 1941, destitute and no longer able to write or publish: ``Do you hear? This is the last breakdown / Of a torn offsic throat: fa--are--wellsic . . .'' Tsvetaeva's generation was deeply influenced by the Symbolists; her work is allusive, and she often puts on masks, such as those of Ophelia, Eurydice or ``the Sybil who moaned herself out.'' But despite her vision of an ideal realm ``where the truth is more evident: / On the other side of days,'' her work always shows a passionate attachment to the world: ``Into the white book of your quietudes / Into the untamed clay of your `yes'-- / I quietly bow the break of my forehead: / For the palm--is life.'' Like her great contemporaries Mandelstam, Akhmatova and Pasternak, Tsvetaeva had a belief in poetry itself that forced her into ``a conspiracy against the century'' and the times that overtook her. This bilingual edition (including useful notes and an afterword) does justice to her gift and her courage. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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