Alta Ifland was born and grew up in Communist Romania. She came to the US as a political refugee in 1991, has a PhD in French language and literature, and translates from/into Romanian, French and English. Her collection of prose poems, Voix de glace/Voice of ice, which she has translated from French, won the 2008 Louis Guillaume Prize (a French prize), and her novel, The Wife Who Wasn’t, a satirical comedy about Moldovans versus Californians in a post-Communist world, came out in 2021.
These English poems by Gari have the same energy and elegance as his Russian poems, and they are enriched by his multilayered, polyphonic use of the English language to express thoughts and feelings with sophistication and humor.
This new edition by Shearsman Press (UK) contains translations of Marina Tsvetaeva’s narrative poems (поэмы). They can be seen as markers of various stages in her poetic development, ranging from the early, folk-accented On a Red Steed to the lyrical-confessional Poem of the Mountain and Poem of the End to the more metaphysical later poems, An Attempt at a Room, Poem of the Mountain, a beautiful requiem for Rainer Maria Rilke, New Year’s Greetings, and Poem of the Air, a stirring celebration of Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight and the quest for the soul’s freedom. These translations were first published by Ardis in 1998 and reprinted by Overlook in 2004 and 2009. The current edtion was published by Shearsman Press (UK) in 2021.