22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Vera Pavlova

Portrait Vera Pavlova
© Hartwig Klappert

The Russian poet Vera Pavlova was born in Moscow in 1963. She studied composition and graduated from the Schnittke College of Music and the Gnessin Academy of Music in the field of music history. She worked as a guide iat the Chaliapin House Museum, wrote essays on musicology, and participated in a church choir.
At the age of twenty, after the birth of her first daughter, she began to write poems. A first selection appeared in the Russian magazine »Junost«. She became more well-known after the publication of 72 poems in the newspaper »Segodnja« and has released 21 poetry collections to date. In her poetry, Pavlova primarily devotes herself to themes of being a woman. Her poems trace the entire sociological and cultural development of a contemporary woman – from the first indications of belonging to a gender in childhood up to the disintegration of the family and followed by a new, mature love in later years. The sincerity in Pavlova’s self-analysis encounters thoroughly traditional notions of family, marriage, and gender relations in a paradoxical way. In the USA, Pavlova’s lyrical texts have appeared in the magazines »Verse«, »Tin House«, and »The New Yorker« as well as in the »New York Times«. One of her poems was selected by the Poetry in Motion program and displayed as a poster in subway cars in New York City and buses in Los Angeles, and was also published as a bookmark by the Poetry Society of America. The poem provided the title for Pavlova’s first collection of poems in English, »If There Is Something to Desire« (2009).
Pavlova has also written libretti for several operas including »Einstein and Margarita« (Music: Iraida Yusupova), »Prologue to Dido & Aeneas« (Music: Michael Nyman), and »A Christmas Opera« (Music: Anton Degtyarenko), as well as the oratorios »Shepherds & Angels« (Music: Iraida Yusupova) and »Three Saviors« (Music: Vladimir Genin). She recorded poems from Russia’s Silver Age as an audio book on seven CDs. Several Russian theaters have staged plays based her poems. Pavlova has also experimented with different new forms of disseminating poetry, such as text messages, postcards, video clips, and audio books. She has been the subject of several Russian and American documentary films. Her texts have been translated into over 22 languages and honored with numerous prizes, including the »Premiya Apollona Grigoreva« (2000). She has participated in many international poetry festivals in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Greece, and Switzerland. She lives in Moscow and New York.