Logo for: North Carolina Writer's Network
Back to Book Buzz

After Russia, Poems of an Emigrant: Marina Tsvetaeva

After Russia, Poems of an Emigrant: Marina Tsvetaeva

By Mary Jane White, TranslatorPublisher: Adelaide Books (Lisbon/NYC)ISBN: ISBN-10: 1-949180-16-6 and ISBN-13: 978-1-949180-16-9Genre: Russian Poetry in English TranslationPrice: $22.30 paperback; e-book $9.77
Available from: Adelaide Books

New translations of Marina Tsvetaeva's (1892-1941) mature lyric work, After Russia, with three of her longer poems: "Poem of the Hill," "Poem of the End," and "New Year’s," written while in exile in Berlin, Prague, and Paris during 1922-1927; with a Preface, Biographical Sketch and Translators' Introduction. The translations have been collected from curated venues including The Hudson Review, The New England Review, The Georgia Review, Agni Review, Poetry Daily, The Odessa Review, The Stockholm Review, and more specialized academic Slavic journals.

Mary Jane White is a poet and translator who practiced law at her home, the O. J. Hager House in Waukon, Iowa. She was born and raised in North Carolina, earned degrees from The North Carolina School of the Arts, Reed College, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and studied law at Duke University, graduating from The University of Iowa. Her poetry and translations received NEA Fellowships in 1979 and 1985. She taught lyric poetry and poetry workshops briefly at the University of Iowa and at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and served for a decade as an Iowa Poet in the Schools, before her son, Ruffin, was born in 1991.


These poems by Tsvetaeva positively scorch the page. What other poet, of this or any century, can match her for ferocity? Wrested from the maelstrom, her imagery alone is a perpetual revelation: unadorned, unprecedented, brutally on target. English-language readers owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mary Jane White for these brilliant translations.

Linda Gregerson, Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI

Mary Jane White’s translations reflect her profound commitment to Tsvetaeva. What impresses me most is the consistency and integrity of the poetic voice that emerges from these pages — a voice that echoes Tsvetaeva’s tense, resonant Russian but is also entirely, naturally Anglophone.

Boris Dralyuk, co-editor of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015)

White’s remarkable translations have an empathic genius that not only offers Tsvetaeva in English but anticipates a poetry in American English that has not existed before. Tsvetaeva in English translation becomes Tsvetaeva’s English poetry. These translations are works of imaginative discovery–of Tsvetaeva’s visionary language as it transforms American poetry with an alien intensity.


Tony Brinkley, Professor of English, University of Maine