Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Poets and Poems: Marina Tsvetaeva and “My Poems”

The life of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva reads like a microcosm of the tragedy that befell Russia in the first half of the 20th century. Born in 1892 in Moscow to an upper class family, she married fairly young, only to have her firstborn child, a son, raised by her in-laws, with her husband’s concurrence. Two daughters followed.

She published her first book of poems when she was 18, and she was something of an overnight literary sensation. She continued to publish, and then came World War I and the Russian Revolution. Her husband, Sergei Efron, joined the White Army during the Russian civil war. During the great Moscow famine in 1919, she placed her daughters in a state orphanage; one of them died of starvation. Three years later, the family fled Russia and eventually settled in Paris. They lived in poverty; her husband found work as an agent for the Soviet secret police.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

Photograph: Sergei Efron and Marina Tsvetaeva about 1912.

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