Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva
Biography of Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva
Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow. Her father, Ivan Tsvetayev, was a professor of art history and the founder of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her mother Mariya, née Meyn, was a talented concert pianist. The family travelled a great deal and Tsvetaeva attended schools in Switzerland, Germany, and at the Sorbonne, Paris. Tsvetaeva started to write verse in her early childhood. She made her debut as a poet at the age of 18 with the collection Evening Album, a tribute to her childhood.
In 1912 Tsvetaeva married Sergei Efron, they had two daughters and one son. Magic Lantern showed her technical mastery and was followed in 1913 by a selection of poems from her first collections. Tsvetaeva's affair with the poet and opera librettist Sofiia Parnok inspired her cycle of poems called Girlfriend. Parnok's career stopped in the late 1920s when she was no longer allowed to publish. The poems composed between 1917 and 1921 appeared in 1957 under the title The Demesne of the Swans. Inspired by her relationship with Konstantin Rodzevich, an ex-Red Army officer she wrote Poem of the Mountain and Poem of the End.
After 1917 Revolution Tsvetaeva was trapped in Moscow for five years. During the famine one of her own daughters died of starvation. Tsvetaeva's poetry reveal her growing interest in folk song and the techniques of the major symbolist and poets, such as Aleksander Blok and Anna Akhmatova. In 1922 Tsvetaeva emigrated with her family to Berlin, where she rejoined her husband, and then to Prague. This was a highly productive period in her life - she published five collections of verse and a number of narrative poems, plays, and essays.
During her years in Paris Tsvetaeva wrote two parts of the planned dramatic trilogy. The last collection published during her lifetime, After Russia, appeared in 1928. Its print, 100 numbered copies, were sold by special subscription. In Paris the family lived in poverty, the income came almost entirely from Tsvetaeva's writings. When her husband started to work for the Soviet security service, the Russian community of Paris turned against Tsvetaeva. Her limited publishing ways for poetry were blocked and she turned to prose. In 1937 appeared MOY PUSHKIN, one of Tsvetaeva's best prose works. To earn extra income, she also produced short stories, memoirs and critical articles.
In exile Tsvetaeva felt more and more isolated. Friendless and almost destitute she returned to the Soviet Union in 1938, where her son and husband already lived. Next year her husband was executed and her daughter was sent to a labor camp. Tsvetaeva was officially ostracized and unable to publish. After the USSR was invaded by German Army in 1941, Tsvetaeva was evacuated to the small provincial town of Elabuga with her son. In despair, she hanged herself ten days later on August 31, 1941.
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Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva Poems
Much Like Me
Much like me, you make your way forward, Walking with downturned eyes. Well, I too kept mine lowered. Passer-by, stop here, please.
Children - are staring of eyes so frightful, Mischievous legs on a wooden floor, Children - is sun in the gloomy motives, Hypotheses' of happy sciences world.
Lady With Camelias
Your whole way with shining evil's coal Margaret, they all do bravely judge. What's your fault? The body sinned as such,
The Demon In Me
The demon in me's not dead, He's living, and well. In the body as in a hold, In the self as in a cell.
Homes reach the stars, the sky's below, The land in smoke to it is near. Inside the big and happy Paris Remains the secretive despair.
Whence Cometh Such Tender Rapture?
Whence cometh such tender rapture? Those curls--they are not the first ones I've smoothened, and I've already Known lips--that were darker than yours.
In the old Strauss waltz for the first time We had listened to your quiet call, Since then all the living things are alien And the knocking of the clock consoles.
These are ashes of treasures: Of hurt and loss. These are ashes in face of which Granite is dross.
Before A Little Coffin
Mother has painted the coffin brightly. The tiny one sleeps in Sunday attire. Onto the forehead no longer is falling
In the sweet, Atlantic Breathing of spring My curtain's like a butterfly, Huge, fluttering
"I will not part! -- There is no end!" She clings and clings... And in the breast -- the rise Of threatening waters, Of notes...Steadfast: like an immutable
To The Next One
Tender caresses of kind little sisters Are ready for you. With the birds' songs, O the charmed prince, We're waiting for you.
I know you not and in no way I want to lose starry illusions With such a face in worst confusion People are loyal to a ray
For My Poems, Written So Early
For my poems, written so early That I didn't even know I was a poet, Hurled like drops from a fountain,
Much Like Me
Much like me, you make your way forward,
Walking with downturned eyes.
Well, I too kept mine lowered.
Passer-by, stop here, please.
Read, when you've picked your nosegay
Of henbane and poppy flowers,
That I was once called Marina,
And discover how old I was.