Friday, August 10, 2007

TLS, August 3, 2007

from Rachel Polonsky's review "A higher romance" of Catherine Ciepiela's "The Same Solitude: Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva"

Although Pasternak fantasized about travelling to Switzerland with Tsvetaeva to visit the dying Rilke, and there were intermittent urges and unrealized plans to meet over the years, actual encounters played no part in the "love" that their letters mutually proclaim. As Tsvetaeva later wrote to Pasternak, "we have nothing except words." Her shrewd sense of how meeting in person might jeopardize the communion available to them in letters (and dreams) was part of a longstanding philosophy of "non-meeting" (razminovenie) with other great poets, which, in its turn, contributed to what Joseph Brodsky calls her retreat into an ever-expanding "sphere of isolation".

I, too, have this intuition about meeting great poets, the fear of being disillusioned, but I did not know that there was a "longstanding philosophy" behind it. What a lovely name for non-meeting: razminovenie. Sweetly melancholic, it makes much out of little. And its middle syllable is "no."

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