'This is an astonishing, evocative, terrifying book. The writer moveslike a ghost amongst the dead of Russia's Silver Age, poets all, asthey lived, wrote, hoped and died through Stalin's purges of thethirties. They spring from the grave to charm and plead with us, astheir author - herself of Russian descent, and one the finest of ourliving poets - restores them to folk memory. The writing's vigorous yetexquisite - the story is gripping. This drastic, dreadful time in worldaffairs should not be forgotten and now won't be. One is, quite simply,grateful.' - FAY WELDON. 'In this fascinating, lyrical meditation on literature, politics, suffering and friendship, Elaine Feinstein - a biographer of poets and a poet of the first rank herself - takes us on a richly imagined journey through a lost literary archipelago, and reconstructs the lives and fates of Russian, often Jewish, writers during the long age of Soviet terror. Combining family history, travels through modern Russia and very personal encounters with famous ghosts, Feinstein evokes, throughpoetry and prose, both the inferno of cruelty and persecutions, and a golden Jerusalem of creativity, talent and intense literary bonds. This is a moving, original work, for which Feinstein has created a selection of poems worthy of the predecessors she admires.' - EVA HOFFMAN.'All poets are Jews, said Marina Tsvetaeva. Elaine Feinstein, Britain's most distinguished Jewish poet, was her first translator into English and has a wonderful wiry lyricism of her own, influenced both by Russian poetry and by Charles Olson and the Black Mountain poets. She has written here a unique blend of poetry, history and personal memoir, a descent into the heartbreaking and ground breaking vistas of Russian Jewry, and Russian literary figures of the twentieth century. The poets of genius whom she did not know alive, she knows equally intimately in the best way in which one poet knows another - by learning, reading, studying, translating. The book opens with her memories of renting a flat in a rundown quarter of St Petersberg in 2005, and also with Marina Tsetaeva accepting, as Virgil accepted for Dante, the role of guide to the underworld of colourful and talented figures Feinstein has known in her rich literary life, both in Russia, London and Cambridge.' - RUTH PADEL.
About the Author
ELAINE FEINSTEIN grew up in Leicester. In 1990 she received an Honorary D.Lit. from the University there. She read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. She has published over thirty books, including fiction and biography, and written for radio and television and reviews for The Times and Poetry Review. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1980. In 1990 she received a Cholmondeley Award and was given an Honorary DLit from the University of Leicester. She has received three Arts Council Translation awards. Carcanet publish her Selected Poems.