Dance With a Shadow

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Bloodaxe Books, 1992 - Poetry - 77 pages
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Ratushinskaya, one of the most important poetic voices to emerge from the last years of the USSR, was only twenty-eight when she was sentenced to seven years of hard labor and five of internal exile, accused of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda. Her crime: writing poetry. She was detained for three years in a "strict regime" labor camp, where she suffered horrendous conditions. But her poems were smuggled out of the camp and published in 1986 in No, I'm Not Afraid, the book that instigated the successful international campaign for her release. This presents fifty-one previously untranslated poems written over the past twenty years. More than twenty of the poems are previously unpublished works written in the labor camp. Despite her ordeal, her poetry remains consistent in its concerns and subject matter: personal faith and the courageous assertion of the human spirit.

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About the author (1992)

Born in Odessa, Ratushinskaya received a physics degree at the university, worked as a teacher, and was involved in the human rights movement. In 1980, her request to emigrate from Russia was denied. Two years later, she was arrested for writing and disseminating "anti-Soviet poetry" and was treated very harshly---given a term in a strict-regime camp, to be followed by internal exile. Her brutal camp experiences included solitary confinement, but throughout she continued to write, recording in her poems and diaries the horrors of the Gulag. Ratushinskaya was released in 1986 on the eve of the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik and allowed to go to England, where she now lives.

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