Poetry News

Jackie Wang Posts Incredible Hélène Cixous Essay on Marina Tsvetaeva

By Harriet Staff


Wow: Jackie Wang has uploaded an "absolutely breathtaking" essay by Hélène Cixous on Marina Tsvetaeva called “Poetry, Passion, and History” (chapter 4 in Cixous’s Readings). You can find it here. Wang writes:

In this essay Cixous discusses desert writing and thirst, mountain vs. sea writing (aversion to the oceanic as aversion to the maternal), the contest of wills between the musical mother and the poetic daughter, what it means to write inside the pressure cooker of history (amidst calamitous events and The Noise), loneliness as an ontological condition, lesbianism, displacement, Paul Celan, Clarice Lispector, abandonment, cruelty toward the Other, and what it means to to have been born “carried away.”

Tsvetaeva writes:

In this most Christian of worlds
all poets are Jews

Why does Tsvetaeva associate poets with Jews? Read Cixous and find out.

Cixous writes:

Many poets develop a sense of positive loss, like Clarice Lispector, or Anna Akhmatova, in whose poetry we read of something never lost at the very bottom of loss, or Marina Tsvetayeva, in whose texts the stakes are something that she never had. Theirs are all texts of despair, that is, of hope...

Originally Published: September 2nd, 2016