By Alyssa W. Dinega
Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva's strong poetic voice and her tragic lifestyles have frequently caused 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 devoted suicide in 1941. This paintings specializes in her poetry, rediscovering her as a major philosopher with a coherent creative and philosophical imaginative and prescient.
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Extra info for A Russian Psyche: The Poetic Mind of Marina Tsvetaeva
These two lines could well serve as Tsvetaeva’s motto throughout her life. The military ethos that colors this poem has been marginally present in each of the four poems already discussed. ’’ In ‘‘Only a Girl,’’ she equated the sword with the lyre’s string, both of which are forbidden to her as a female. ]). In ‘‘The Drum,’’ then, Tsvetaeva articulates explicitly what she only hints at in the other poems: she conceives her poetic project metaphorically as an oﬀensive military campaign against her own internalization of societal and poetic conventions that impede her path to poetry.
In the poems discussed earlier, no matter what the poet’s ostensible allegiance— to feminine destiny over poetic (‘‘In the Luxembourg Garden,’’ ‘‘Only a Girl’’), or to poetic destiny over feminine (‘‘A Prayer,’’ ‘‘A Savage Will’’)—we have seen that everywhere the reality is far more complex, for she is separated from complete commitment to either one of these mutually conﬂicting destinies by the other’s competing pull. Tsvetaeva cannot meet others eye to eye, but gazes into the abyss and from the abyss to see that which is invisible to mere mortals.
This third possibility is her communion with the army of other poets, her male contemporaries and predecessors, at whose head, by the poem’s end, she marches proudly: Быть барабанщиком! Всех впереди! Все остальное—обман! [To be a drummer! Ahead of everyone! ] With this new vision, Tsvetaeva is able for the ﬁrst time triumphantly to bear the pain (‘‘wounds’’ [rany]) of her exclusion from the sisterhood and of the dichotomy she experiences between life (the deceptive ‘‘everything else’’) and art—to which she gives her full allegiance.