Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review: If There is Something to Desire

You are, my dear,
a wall of stone:
to sing or howl
to bash my head on.

Vera Pavlova's debut English collection, If There is Something to Desire, describes a loving, but wry relationship with her husband, as the poem above demonstrates. She also talks about sex and sexuality, love, insomnia, and her children.

She was originally studying to be a composer, but after the birth of her first daughter at age twenty, she began writing poems instead. She's widely published in her native Russia and this collection is also the first collaboration with her translator husband, Steven Seymour.

The poems are short, there are only two that have longer, seperate stanzas. Each encapsulates something much larger but expresses it beautifully as a sparse description. With only a hundred poems in the volume, Pavolva and Seymour bring a remarkable poet to American shores and leaves the reader wanting more, especially this reader.

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