These new translations of Marina Tsvetaeva’s poetry are a cause for celebration: Belinda Cooke’s translations and introduction show simultaneously a poet alive to the varying tones and evoked passions of the poems and a scholar able to do justice to the complexities of the original language.
“For poetry in languages we’ll never master – and Russian is one of mine – our best hope it to triangulate the location of the original by comparing different translations of the same poems. Now here are Belinda Cooke’s versions: lucidly rhythmical, with their distinctive felicities of phrasing and fresh vocal timbre to help us catch an echo of this essential poet from the Russian silver age.”
“Translating the greats is always difficult, but Belinda Cooke hits exactly the right attitute – of being a gentle, unassuming conduit through which the poet’s words flow, simple and clear. There is a profound sense of authenticity about these translations. Cooke acts as an invisible hand-maiden, bearing the mantle of the great writer struggling with the huge passions of her time, and her life. She calmly midwifes these compelling poems from one millennium into another, without losing touch with the age which gave them birth.”
“This collection is valuable for its steady faithfulness to the original, its breadth of poems, and in particular for so many of the pre-revolutionary poems.”
Emily Lygo, Modern Poetry in Translation 2009