And until the desert of renown Stops my mouth, I will sing of bridges and gates, I will sing of the common places. And until I lie dead in its snare I will not be caught up — in human fraud, I will hit — the most difficult note, I will sing — to the… [Read More]
Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow in 1892, and began to publish in her teens. She was a working contemporary of Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke. Tsvetaeva left the Soviet Union in 1922 to reunite with her husband, Sergei Efron, in Czechoslovakia, after a four-year separation during the Russian Revolution. There, the family was supported by Tsvetaeva’s writing and small refugee pensions from the Czech government, as well as supplements from Czech literati like Anna Teskova and other female friends. While living in and around Prague, Tsvetaeva wrote short lyrics, one or two a day or every other day. “Poem of the Gates” belongs to a group of poems expressing both pique and empathy for her new Czech neighbors, for Prague’s factory-workers, for seamstresses, and for Jews. Mary Jane White's translations of Marina Tsvetaeva's poetry have appeared in The New England Review, The Hudson Review, and in the book Poets Translate Poets (Syracuse 2013). She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and received NEA Fellowships in poetry and translation.