|Olga Sedakova stands out among contemporary Russian poets as a poet blessed with the talents of musicality, verbal agility, and insights into the workings of soul and mind. An erudite writer who wears her knowledge lightly, she deftly other poetic traditions into her work, balancing openness to European and American cultural traditions with a profound knowledge of Russian cultural and religious traditions. In presenting a new translation of her work into English, our book aims to show Sedakova as a Russian poet and as a creator of world poetry.
We offer here two poetic cycles: one based on Slavic folk traditions ("Old Songs", her shimmering sequence that mixes folk and biblical wisdom), and one that emerges from European myths ("Tristan and Isolde", perhaps her most mysterious long poem). Sedakova's capacious account in prose of her own poetic development ("In Praise of Poetry") follows. Alongside these three major texts, we have included our interview with the poet conducted in 2012 and, as a coda, the poetic credo she presented when she was presented with The Masters Translation Prize in Moscow in 2011, awarded by the Masters of Literary Translation Guild. All of these texts appear in English in full for the first time.
(c) Introduction, by Stephanie Sandler