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Shortly before this volume was published as an issue of Modern Poetry in Translation (MPT) in 2002, the critic Dmitry Polishchuk wrote in the Russian literary magazine, Novy Mir: "The 25–35-year-old generation is now experiencing an efflorescence—a new type of poetic vision, with a distinct poetic language, a new kind of baroque; with novel structures, combining the far-fetched, the heterogeneous, the incompatible, in a poetics of contrast."


As MPT editor Daniel Weissbort writes in the introduction, this was particularly true of women poets, and is partly what spurred him and editor Valentina Polukhina to assemble this volume of some 70 poets. They chose writers living in Moscow and Petersburg at that time, as well as authors in provincial centers like Voronezh, Saratov, Samara, and Siberia, and Russian-language poets from countries that had formerly been Soviet republics, like Ukraine and Georgia.


A few poets protested the premise of an anthology featuring only women poets as demeaning or problematic for other reasons. Though the editors continued with the project, they included some of those poets’ arguments in a couple of short pieces at the start of the book.


A number of the poets — such as Bella Akhmadulina and Olga Sedakova — were already well known when the volume was published, while many had never yet been translated into English. Interspersed with the poems are short interviews with such poets as Tatiana Shcherbina, Svetlana Kekova, Yunna Morits, Vera Pavlova, Olga Sedakova, Evelina Shats, and Tatyana Voltskaya, as well as pictures of the original manuscript pages of some of Derek Walcott’s translations. Translators include Derek Walcott, Catriona Kelly, Richard McKane, Elaine Feinstein, Stephanie Sandler, Daniel Weissbort, and many others.


Editor Valentina Polukhina (1936-2022) was the leading scholar of Joseph Brodsky in the West, and the author of numerous books on his work, as well as on other Russian poets of the 20th century.

Russian Women Poets (Modern Poetry in Translation, Issue #20)

  • General Information

    Edited by Valentina Polukhina and Daniel Weissbort
    ISBN 978-0953382484 (paper)
    5½ x 8½
    304 pages

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