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Letter to the Amazon

Published by Ugly Duckling Presse

ISBN: 9781937027698

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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 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 thirty-one.

I have been thinking of You since the day I saw You – has it been a month? When I was young, I was eager to explain myself to others, I was afraid of missing the wave rising from within to carry me toward the other, I was always afraid of loving no more, of knowing no more. But I am no longer young, and have learned to let almost everything pass—irrevocably.

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