Marina Tsvetaeva

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tsvetaeva, Marina Ivanovna


Born Sept. 26 (Oct. 8), 1892, in Moscow; died Aug. 31, 1941, in Elabuga. Soviet Russian poet. Daughter of I. V. Tsvetaev.

Tsvetaeva’s poetry collections Evening Album and The Magic Lantern were published in 1910 and 1912, respectively. She attained poetic maturity in her verse of the period from 1912 to 1915. Her poetry written in 1916 (Versts, fasc. 1, 1922) deals with Russia and the poets of Russia. It portrays a proud woman endowed with immeasurable feeling. Tsvetaeva’s lyric poetry written between 1917 and 1922 is marked by a complex, contradictory sense of the revolution and a romantic rejection of the use of force. From the point of view of poetics, these poems are characterized by varied intonations, a vocabulary of great range (from the high and solemn to the folksy and vernacular), and the rhythms of the chastushka (folk ditty, often humorous). During these same years, Tsvetaeva wrote a cycle of plays and the fairytale poem The Tsar-Maiden.

Tsvetaeva emigrated in the spring of 1922; after living for a while in Czechoslovakia, she took up residence in France in late 1925. She published in White émigré periodicals. Her works from this period include Craft (1923), Psyche (1923), The Swain (1924), and After Russia (1928). She also wrote the tragedies Ariadne (1924) and Phaedra (1927), which are based on classical themes; essays on poets, such as “My Pushkin” and “A Living Word About the Living Word”; essays on aesthetics, such as “Art in the Light of Conscience” and “The Poet and His Time”; and autobiographical sketches, such as “The House on Old Pimen” and “Tale of Sonechka.”

A tragic romantic poet, Tsvetaeva wrote of love and separation in the narrative poems Poem of the Mountain (1924) and Poem of the End (1924). Her narrative poem The Pied Piper (1925) and the poem “Newspaper Readers” show her hatred of the bourgeois spirit and philistinism. She proclaimed the triumph of the solitary spirit of the poet in his struggle with fate.

Tsvetaeva’s preoccupation with nostalgia intensified in the 1930’s and was expressed in “Verses to My Son” and “Homesickness! Long ago.” Her antifascist cycle Poems to Bohemia was written in 1938 and 1939. Tsvetaeva returned to the USSR in 1939 and occupied herself with verse translations. She was evacuated from the war zone and subsequently, distraught because of her difficult living conditions, committed suicide.

Tsvetaeva’s poetry evolved from simple, melodious, classically clear forms to more expressive, urgent, and rhythmically complex ones. The style of her lyric poetry of the 1930’s is aphoristic; each word is saturated with meaning and feeling.


Izbr. proizv. [Introductory article by V. Orlov.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Moi Pushkin. Moscow, 1967.
Prosto serdtse: Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov v perevode M. Tsvetaevoi. Moscow, 1967.


Antokol’skii, P. “Kniga Mariny Tsvetaevoi.” Novyi mir, 1966, no. 4.
Tsvetaeva, A. Vospominaniia. Moscow, 1971.
Tvardovskii, A. “Marina Tsvetaeva: Izbrannoe.” In O literature. Moscow, 1973.
Efron, A. “Stranitsy vospominanii.” Zvezda, 1973, no. 3.
Efron, A. “Stranitsy bylogo” Zvezda, 1975, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kaminsky's fellow poets turn out to be dancers as well: we get a description of Osip Mandelstam dancing with his wife Nadezhda (22), see Paul Celan "in his old robe dancing alone in his bedroom" (41), and witness Marina Tsvetaeva dancing "barefoot in the snow" (47).
He was also lauded for his superbly skillful, sensitive translations of the poetry of four of the most important Russian poets of the twentieth century, Brodsky, Pasternak, Akhmatova, and Tsvetaeva. His association, collaboration, and eventually deep friendship with the poet Joseph Brodsky was one of the more personally significant pleasures of his life.
Mandelstam Mayakovsky Pasternak Bulgakov Tsvetaeva Yevtushenko Voznesensky and all the disappeared who could have been Requiem 1930-1940 In the endless silence of the prison yard the nearly endless silence I am recognized.
We have here four Russian female poets, all of them alive and writing today, which means that their understanding of life in a Communist state is largely derived from history or from family stories; they have not suffered the trials and abasements of Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, or Osip Mandelstam.
Another bonus: each chapter is introduced by a vivid poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, described as "one of the greatest Russian lyrical poets of the twentieth Century", whose verses set the tone for each new development, as in Chapter 8: "After this sleepless night, I'm awash in lightness,/Poised and serene--a star in the Milky Way./Rainbows fill every sound, erupting brightly,/Icycold streets smell like Florence in early May."
Singer (1975-1980); All About Love, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, tenor, and chamber ensemble (2004), based on texts by Petrarch, Labe, Melville, Tsvetaeva, Keats, and Proust; Borscht Belt Follies for stand-up comedian, klezmer clarinet, bass trombone, percussion, violin, cello and piano (2011); and Road Maps for improvising soloists and chamber orchestra (2014).
A student of--among others--Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva (he knew their poetic superstitiousness), he knew the conversation they had during their one and only meeting.
A woman of subtle intelligence and quick wit," combining "a sense of humour with the capacity for handling abstract concepts without ever losing her discernment of concrete reality" (Slonim 1972: 121) and one of the most original twentieth-century Russian poets, Marina Tsvetaeva was born on October 8th 1892 in Moscow.
"Dark Elderberry Branch" is a 'reading' of Marina Tsvetaeva's poetry, as Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine discuss the Russian's poets work as they interpret her words and provide insight on her meaning and her words.
Soul and Passion: Marina Tsvetaeva's Classical Plays.