Review: Selected Poems

Posted 19 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Selected Poems
By: Marina Tsvetaeva
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

An admired contemporary of Rilke, Akhmatova, and Mandelstam, Russian poet Marina Tsvetayeva bore witness to the turmoil and devastation of the Revolution, and chronicled her difficult life in exile, sustained by the inspiration and power of her modern verse.

The poems in this selection are drawn from eleven volumes published over thirty years.

Marina Tsvetaeva is another one of those poets I’ve long heard about and indeed studied a bit about in relation to Soviet history and culture but never got around to reading works from until…well, now.

There’s something about her poems that remind me a bit of Federico Garcia Lorca (review) with her curious use of imagery. It’s a bit hard to explain, actually, unless you’ve read both his poems and hers, there’s something in the mystery and the structure of their poems that just remind me of each other. But you can feel the turmoil in her verses as she lived through the radical changes that Russia went through during her lifetime, the fissures and uncertainties and the passion. But despite of the changes and the regime upheavals, the reader gets a sense that she really loved her country; her poems about Moscow greatly exemplified that. There’s a few poems that particularly stand out to me and that I keep coming back to, like this one that I shared on Instagram:

A post shared by Lianne (@eclecticreading) on

Anyway, I’m glad I finally got around to reading some of Marina Tsvetaeva’s poetry (another Russian great to check off my to-read list!). The only reason I didn’t rate this collection any higher was because on a personal note some of the poems were a bit of a mixed bag–some moved me more than others (see above)–but that’s just personal preference. Definitely worth checking out though if you’re making your rounds with Russian poetry 🙂

Rating: ★★★½☆

Learn more about the poet on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository

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