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If There Is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems

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If There Is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems Cover

ISBN13: 9780307272256
ISBN10: 0307272257
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I broke your heart. / Now barefoot I tread / on shards.

Such is the elegant simplicity—a whole poem in ten words, vibrating with image and emotion—of the best-selling Russian poet Vera Pavlova. The one hundred poems in this book, her first full-length volume in English, all have the same salty immediacy, as if spoken by a woman who feels that, as the title poem concludes, “If there was nothing to regret, / there was nothing to desire.”

Pavlovas economy and directness make her delightfully accessible to us in all of the widely ranging topics she covers here: love, both sexual and the love that reaches beyond sex; motherhood; the memories of childhood that continue to feed us; our lives as passionate souls abroad in the world and the fullness of experience that entails. Expertly translated by her husband, Steven Seymour, Pavlovas poems are highly disciplined miniatures, exhorting us without hesitation: “Enough painkilling, heal. / Enough cajoling, command.”

It is a great pleasure to discover a new Russian poet—one who storms our hearts with pure talent and a seemingly effortless gift for shaping poems.

Review:

"One of Russia's bestselling contemporary poets, Pavlova is the most recent international darling to break into the American literary scene, first in the New Yorker and now with this first full-length collection to appear in English. Almost always less than 10 lines each, the collection's 100 poems explore universal themes like love, sex, and motherhood. That they have been translated by Seymour, Pavlova's husband, adds intrigue and intimacy to the collection, which has its share of 'semen,' 'saliva,' and 'wild strawberries,' as well as 'placental slime and blood.' Throughout, Pavlova works to combine registers of the sublime and the everyday. Because of the brevity of the poems, a tremendous amount rides on the impact of these quick juxtapositions. They often fall short of transcendence: 'Armpits smell of linden blossom,/ lilacs give a whiff of ink.' The collection's success depends heavily on one's personal response to Pavlova's voice, including ungainly phrasings like 'two gays smooching on a bench' and tell-it-straight lines like 'Death from depression seems/ a bit ridiculous.' Some poems, however, quietly achieve a surprising depth, such as number 50, which reads in its entirety: 'I have brushed my teeth./ This day and I are even.' (Jan.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Vera Pavlova was born in Moscow. She is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, four opera librettos, and numerous essays on musicology. Her work has been translated into eighteen languages. She is the recipient of several awards and is one of the best-selling poets in Russia.Steven Seymour is a professional interpreter and translator of Russian, Polish, and French. His English translations of Vera Pavlovas poems have appeared in Tin House and The New Yorker.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Zulaikha, December 20, 2012 (view all comments by Zulaikha)
Wonderful. Just wonderful. It is almost as if she dug these out of the dirt, cut them in half, pressed them onto the page like a potato print. They are so real, so fresh, so natural. Just the right mix of humor and whimsy and silliness with the harsh cold counterpoint, as the French might say stereotypically, "how like life." Had me smiling the whole read through, and I'll do it again and surely discover something new. Simple but complex all at once. Perfect!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307272256
Subtitle:
One Hundred Poems
Publisher:
Knopf
Translator:
Seymour, Steven
Author:
Pavlova, Vera
Author:
Seymour, Steven
Subject:
Pavlova, Vera
Subject:
Continental european
Subject:
Russian & Former Soviet Union
Subject:
Single Author - Continental European
Subject:
Anthologies-Miscellaneous International Poetry
Publication Date:
20100119
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
128
Dimensions:
8.46x6.04x.63 in. .55 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Miscellaneous International Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Featured Titles

If There Is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems
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Product details 128 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307272256 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "One of Russia's bestselling contemporary poets, Pavlova is the most recent international darling to break into the American literary scene, first in the New Yorker and now with this first full-length collection to appear in English. Almost always less than 10 lines each, the collection's 100 poems explore universal themes like love, sex, and motherhood. That they have been translated by Seymour, Pavlova's husband, adds intrigue and intimacy to the collection, which has its share of 'semen,' 'saliva,' and 'wild strawberries,' as well as 'placental slime and blood.' Throughout, Pavlova works to combine registers of the sublime and the everyday. Because of the brevity of the poems, a tremendous amount rides on the impact of these quick juxtapositions. They often fall short of transcendence: 'Armpits smell of linden blossom,/ lilacs give a whiff of ink.' The collection's success depends heavily on one's personal response to Pavlova's voice, including ungainly phrasings like 'two gays smooching on a bench' and tell-it-straight lines like 'Death from depression seems/ a bit ridiculous.' Some poems, however, quietly achieve a surprising depth, such as number 50, which reads in its entirety: 'I have brushed my teeth./ This day and I are even.' (Jan.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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