By Alyssa W. Dinega
Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva's strong poetic voice and her tragic lifestyles have usually brought on literary commentators to regard her as both a martyr or a monster. Born in Russia in 1892, she emigrated to Europe in 1922, back on the peak of the Stalinist Terror, and dedicated suicide in 1941. This paintings makes a speciality of her poetry, rediscovering her as a major philosopher with a coherent inventive and philosophical imaginative and prescient.
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Additional resources for A Russian Psyche: The Poetic Mind of Marina Tsvetaeva
Finally, in ‘‘The Drum,’’ Tsvetaeva’s relationship to Derzhavin is analogous to Derzhavin’s relationship to Suvorov in ‘‘The Bullﬁnch’’; in both poems, the poet stakes out his or her poetic territory on the grave of an admired forebear. ’’ (The actual lines are ‘‘Enough of singing military songs, ﬁnch! Martial music is not pleasing today, from everywhere is heard the lyre’s languid moan’’ [Polno pet' pesniu voennu, snigir'! ) Tsvetaeva counters the insigniﬁcance of the droning ﬁnch’s/reed pipe’s song with her own unique drumbeat.
Tsvetaeva sets herself up as a poetic martyr, whose allegiance is formulated —in anticipation of enmity—oﬀensively: against the symbolic dangers of tigers, eagles, night, hurricanes: Я люблю такие игры, Где надменны все и злы. Чтоб врагами были тигры И орлы! . . Чтобы ночь со мной боролась, Ночь сама! Я несусь,—за мною пасти, Я смеюсь,—в руках аркан... Чтобы рвал меня на части Ураган! [I love such games, when everyone is haughty and mean. If only tigers and eagles were my enemies! . If only the night would ﬁght with me, the night herself!
This ambiguity of the speaking voice is encoded in the poem’s verbal structure. Throughout both the catalogue of female virtues in stanzas 1 and 2 and Walking the Poetic Tightrope 15 the deﬁnition of female limitation in stanza 3, there is not a single conjugated verb; rather, the inﬁnitive forms alone are used: not to forget [ne zabyt'], to remember [pomnit'], to dream [mechtat'], to rock [kachat'], to spin [kruzhit'], to shake [triasti], not to be [ne byt'], not to sound [ne zazvenet']. The inﬁnitive in these constructions is profoundly ambiguous.
A Russian Psyche: The Poetic Mind of Marina Tsvetaeva by Alyssa W. Dinega