Sophia Parnok

Sophia Parnok, born in 1885, was a Russian poet, translator, literary critic and librettist. Of Jewish descent and later a convert to the Russian Orthodox Church, she was briefly married to the dramatist Vladimir Volkenstein, but her intimate relationships were mostly with women, and her passionate sapphic eroticism is explored with great frankness in her verse. Her lovers included Marina Tsvetaeva, with whom she had a tumultuous affair in 1914-16, and who addressed Parnok in her famous and beautiful sequence, ‘Podruga’ (which Elaine Feinstein translates under the title ‘Girlfriend’). She suffered from Graves’ Disease throughout her life, and died in 1933 at the age of 48. Though she is the subject of one English-language biography, and despite her vivid evocation in some of Tsvetaeva’s best-loved lyrics, Parnok’s own poems have been little translated into English.

Sophia Parnok's work featured in Stand Magazine comprises one contribution of poetry.
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