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Holy Winter by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale

Holy Winter by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale

Literature in Translation Series
Poetry
Publication Date: June 4, 2024
80 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781771669276

Trade Paperback
$22.95
(In stock)
Epub
$14.99
(In stock)
SKU: Holy Winter 20/21 by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale Categories: , , , , , Tags: , , , , ,

A profoundly moving book-length poem from “Russia’s greatest living poet” (Poetry) and the acclaimed author of In Memory of Memory.

 Maria Stepanova was a highly influential figure in Moscow’s cosmopolitan literary scene for many years until Putin strangled it, along with civil liberties and dissent. Written in a frenzy of poetic inspiration, Holy Winter speaks of winter and war, banishment and exile, social isolation and existential abandonment. Here, she masterfully interweaves confusing signals from the media and social networks, love letters, travelogues, and fairy tales, creating a polyphonic evocation of frozen time and its slow thawing.

Like Joseph Brodsky before her, Stepanova has mastered modern poetry’s rich repertoire of forms, moving effortlessly between the traditions of Russian, European, and transatlantic literature. With echoes of Ovid, Pushkin and Lermontov, Mandelstam and Tsvetaeva, and kindred poets like Sylvia Plath, Inger Christensen, and Anne Carson, Stepanova’s is a potent and vital voice like no other.

With an afterword by the author.

Praise for Holy Winter

“In the manner of the Baroque poets, heirs to Ovid too, Maria Stepanova creates a continuous flowing poetics of brilliance and beauty in Holy Winter. The effect is that of a kaleidoscopic collage, made of moving parts that deftly merge the lyrical and historical, making the whole reverberate with sounds and images. The inside is the outside in this icy, claustrophobic world; the existential questions posed by Stepanova go unanswered. Yet there are glimmers of light that shine through the cracks in the ice, the promise of sweetness as ‘Foreign words melt in the cheek / Like sugar cubes’ to lift us out of our collective dark night of the soul.” —Beatriz Hausner, author of She Who Lies Above

“Like a heavy Russian snowfall, Maria Stepanova’s Holy Winter seems to cover everything: survival, dreams, and the anger of the gods. Heavy, but also bright: the brilliance of fresh-fallen snow under clear and boundlessly bright skies. But Stepanova’s dazzling long poem—adroitly ranging across historic borders and lyric traditions—is more than a paean to winter, it is also the promise of a coming spring, the buried but inevitable renewal of what must be. Rendered skilfully for English readers in Sasha Dugdale’s fluent translation, Holy Winter is an essential book for our time, burning with wonder and smouldering with dissent.” —Paul Vermeersch, author of Shared Universe: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020

Press Coverage

“The moving, polyvocal latest from Stepanova is a book-length snowscape sequence that blends voices of fracture and love, evoking Ovid in exile and other historical touchstones, from Baron Munchausen to Hans Christian Andersen… Bound together by a gently thoughtful steeliness, these poetic utterances are at once plaintive and resolute.” —Publishers Weekly

Read an Excerpt from Holy Winter by Maria Stepanova, Translated by Sasha Dugdale —Open Book

 

 

About the Author

MARIA STEPANOVA, born in Moscow in 1972, is one of the most powerful and distinctive voices of Russia’s first post-Soviet literary generation. She is an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, and journalist. Stepanova’s works have been translated into many languages and published widely. She has received several literary awards, including the prestigious Andrey Bely Prize and Joseph Brodsky Fellowship. Her novel, In Memory of Memory, was a finalist for the 2021 International Booker Prize and has been translated into many languages. Stepanova founded and was editor-in-chief of the online independent crowd-sourced journal Colta.ru, which engaged with contemporary Russia’s cultural, social, and political reality until the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine when all dissenting media in Russia were forced to shut down. As a prominent critic of Putin’s regime, Stepanova had to leave Russia and is now living in exile in Berlin.


SASHA DUGDALE is a poet and translator. She has published five collections of poetry with Carcanet (UK), the most recent, Deformations, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. She is a translator of Russian drama and poetry, including work by Elena Shvarts, Maria Stepanova and Marina Tsvetaeva, and former editor of the international magazine Modern Poetry in Translation.