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The Diaries of Marya Zaturenska, 1938-1944

Edited by Mary Beth Hinton
With an Introduction and Biographical Notes by Patrick Gregory

Cloth $19.95    |   0-8156-0714-8    |   2001

These candid diaries introduce one of America's finest twentieth-century lyrical poets to a new generation of readers.

At age thirty-six, acclaimed poet Marya Zaturenska’s work reached its full potential even as she battled emotional and physical illness. Recently rediscovered diaries, published here for the first time, reflect that crucial period in the poet’s life.

Born in Kiev, Russia, Marya Zaturenska moved to New York City at the age of eight. To help support her family, she dropped out of public high school and held various jobs in a factory, a publishing house, and bookstore. By taking night courses she managed to complete high school. Meanwhile, she wrote poetry, some of which appeared in national magazines. In time, Zaturenska would publish eight books of poetry and a biography of Christina Rossetti for which she won critical acclaim. With her husband, Horace Gregory, she wrote A History of American Poetry, 1900-1940—and counted among her literary contemporaries Willa Cather, Theodore Roethke, May Sarton, Muriel Rukeyser, Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, Padraic and Mary Colum, and Malcolm Cowley.

Significantly, these papers reveal a woman whose life brimmed with creativity, love of family, and good humor in the face of despair. Her keen poet’s eye offers biting commentary on New York’s literary scene. Furthermore, she not only chronicles the onset of World War II but also observes how the war reshaped American literary tastes and attitudes.

Wednesday, April 4, 1939
"Returned yesterday from a trip to Boston. . . . I went at the invitation of M. B., a young woman on the Atlantic Monthly who had praised my last book warmly and who seemed anxious to have me visit her . . . as a great treat (and it was) M.B. took me to visit Robert Frost. . . . He was charming, warm, and friendly, and in response to his tactful questioning I opened up and talked a great deal. Miss B. sat overcome with awe and reverence, looking horrified when I disagreed with him from time to time. We talked ‘shop,’ which seemed to be annoying M. B., but Frost evidently enjoyed it for he went on and on. Some good malicious stories about E. A. Robinson, his stinginess, his sponging, his drunkenness, the awfulness of his disciples. All this with a deprecating smile and a rather disarming ‘Of course I was jealous of him. And he of me. But we were good friends.’ More stories about Pound. ‘The poor devil hasn’t a friend on earth. No one but a group of young disciples whom he changes from year to year and eventually antagonizes.’ He is so lonely he even ran into Louis Untermeyer’s arms when he met him in Rapallo."—From The Diaries of Marya Zaturenska, 1938-1944

Mary Beth Hinton is the editor of the Syracuse University Library Associates Courier, in which she has published excerpts from the depression-era diary of Marya Zaturenska.

Patrick Gregory is the son of Marya Zaturenska. He is a former book editor and now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

6 x 9, 288 pages, 16 photographs, biographical notes, index

The Diaries of Marya Zaturenska, 1938-1944

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