Selected Poems, by Marina Tsvetaeva

tsvetaevaThis book is a selection of Marina Tsvetaeva’s poems translated from the Russian. The poems cross a 25-year period, from about 1915 to about 1940.

As I’ve said before, I am not a very good judge of poetry. I dislike poetry and I usually don’t understand it. My goal this year is to read six books of it, both to try to teach myself how to understand it better, and because I feel like I’m really lacking in this area of my learning. Maybe if I can learn to read poetry, I can grow to like it. At least that’s the hope.

Unfortunately, this collection did nothing for me at all. I wanted to like it. Jason gave it a rave review and the information he gave about Tsvetaeva’s life made her sound fascinating. Maybe I ought to have read a biography instead. Instead, I part-read part-skimmed through this collection, starting off all eager, getting less and less so as I turned pages. I had planned to read slowly, a couple poems a day all month, but as none of the poems spoke to me, I just read faster to get through it. Not the way you’re supposed to read poetry, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.

Maybe it was just that it was a translation. Maybe it’s just not the sort of poetry I like. Maybe I just don’t know how to read it. I don’t know. But either way, in the end there were only two poems in the entire collection that were okay, and of those two, only one that I liked enough to quote:

A kiss on the head – wipes away misery.
I kiss your head.

A kiss on the eyes – takes away sleeplessness.
I kiss your eyes.

A kiss on the lips – quenches the deepest thirst.
I kiss your lips.

A kiss on the head – wipes away memory.
I kiss your head.

Ironically, Jason quoted this exact same poem in his review, which I didn’t realize until just now.

I wish I could have liked and understood this better. Again, Tsvetaeva seems like a fascinating woman and I would like to read more about her. But her poetry? *shrug* It just didn’t work for me, I guess.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2010, Adult, Poetry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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