A great poetess to a great poet

TSVETAEVA, Marina Ivanovna

Stikhi k Bloku

[Poems to Blok]

Publication: Kummer & Co. for Ogonki, Berlin, 1922.

TSVETAEVA, Marina Ivanovna, Stikhi k Bloku

Tsvetaeva’s second poetry cycle published in exile, dedicated to a major Russian poet who died the year before, with the first publication of Tsvetaeva’s ‘Podruga’ dedicated to Blok’s lover. Lovely copy of this first edition.

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First edition of this tribute to Tsvetaeva’s Silver age idol; a pleasant example of this small and fragile production.

“Blok was the only poet in Marina Tsvetaeva’s life whom she revered as a deity […] She considered all her other favourite poets as her companions or colleagues”, wrote Ariadna Efron in the memoirs about her mother (our translation). Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) was however never acquainted with the leading Russian Silver Age poet Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921); she yet saw him twice during his public readings in Moscow in May 1920 but did not dare to approach him. During one of these meetings, she passed some of her poems dedicated to the poet through Ariadna who was only eight years old.

‘Stikhi k Bloku’ consists of 21 poems, including her earliest works written as early as 1916, and four more added in 1921 in grief for the poet’s death. It finishes with the small cycle ‘Podruga’ [‘Girlfriend’], written with (and for) Nadezhda Aleksandrovna Kogan (also named Nolle-Kogan; 1888-1966). A translator from French and German, Kogan became Blok’s lover during many years, while both were married. Kogan gave birth to an illegitimate son from Blok in June 1921, just a couple of months before his father’s untimely death. It should be noted that this short cyclem here published for the first time, is different from the homonymous ‘Podruga’ cycle which Tsvetaeva wrote earlier for her own lover, Sofiia Parnok, but which wasn’t published until the 1960s (parts) and late 1970s (full).

It is the second of five poetry collections by Tsvetaeva published in Berlin. The cover design and lovely book decoration were prepared by the artist Aleksandr Arnshtam (1880-1969), who also designed the (completely different) cover of ‘Razluka’, published in Berlin the same year. It is said that both artists had a brief affair.


Yu. Abyzov (booklabel to verso of upper wrapper).


Rozanov 4237.

Item number



Physical Description

Octavo (13 x 10 cm). 47 pp. [but 45, without pp. 27-28 as issued] incl. first blank, next with publisher’s mark, title, next with vignette, and half-title.


Original printed publisher’s wrappers after a design by Aleksandr Arnshtam, with original staples.


Wrappers a bit toned and rubbed, area of abrasion to upper wrapper, gilt of upper wrapper lettering oxidised; one sheet loose, otherwise very fresh internally.

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