Literary Nonfiction. Translated from the Russian by A'Dora Phillips & Gaëlle Cogan. Introduction by Catherine Ciepiela. Like many of Marina Tsvetaeva's essays and poems, LETTER TO THE AMAZON is addressed to another writer, in this case Natalie Clifford Barney, a wealthy American expatriate in Paris. Though written in 1932, Tsvetaeva's letter was in response to what Barney said about lesbian relationships and motherhood in her 1920 Pensées dune Amazone (Thoughts of an Amazon). Tsvetaeva uses her essay to emphasize what is to her mind a general truth of lesbian relationships (i.e. they cannot endure because of a woman's innate desire for a child) and to explore her seemingly agonized feelings about Sophia Parnok, the Russian poet with whom she fell in love in 1914, when Tsvetaeva was twenty-two and Parnok twenty-nine.
Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) was one of the most renowned poets of 20th-century Russia. Her life coincided with years of extreme turbulence in Russian history. She left Russia in 1922 with her daughter and her husband, Sergei Efron. In 1925 the family settled in Paris where they lived in poverty. In 1939 Tsvetaeva returned to the Soviet Union. Following the arrest of her husband and daughter, she hanged herself on August 31, 1941.Author City: MOSCOW RUS