Monday, April 12, 2010

Vera Pavlova and Translated Poetry

I discovered Vera Pavlova when her latest volume of poems If There is Something to Desire, 100 Poems, walked into the store; and I have to say I am in love.

Pavlova writes succinctly, sweetly, and with an immediacy that touches you before you are even aware you have finished reading her words. This is the kind of collection of poetry that one would keep on their shelves in order to share with others; though I must admit that it is equally successful as a collection that one would turn towards to read to oneself. It is playful but thoughtful, eloquent but not mind numbing. In short it is straightforward poetry that doesn't miss a lyric beat.

The success of her poems is not unrelated to the capableness of her translator Steven Seymour. I often wonder how translation changes, or perhaps does not change, a work of writing. This is not the first collection that Seymour has translated from Russian for Pavlova. So I can only assume that he must be doing her words justice.

Below are two selections from this awesome new collection:


He gave me life as a gift.

What can I give in return?

My poems.

I have nothing else.

But then, are they mine?

This is the way, as a child,

I would give birthday cards

to my mother: I chose them,

and paid with my father's money.



A poem is a voice-mail:

the poet has stepped out, most likely

will not be back. Please leave a message

after you hear a gunshot.


I hope you enjoy as much as I did!


To order your copy from the Odyssey click here.

To find out more about Vera Pavlova visit her website.

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