Poetry of Maria Rybakova
She studied Classics starting at the age of 17, when she entered Moscow University, and moved to Germany when she was 20 to continue her studies at the Humboldt University, ultimately receiving a PhD degree in Classics from Yale University in 2004. Over the years she worked and travelled in number of places, including Geneva, Munich, the Mekong River region in Thailand, and Northeast China.
She was awarded Sergei Dovlatov Award in 2003 for the best Russian language short story. In 2005, Rybakova was a writer-in-residence at Bard College, and in 2006–2007 she taught at California State University, Long Beach. In autumn 2007 she joined the Classics and Humanities faculty of San Diego State University.
Her Major works
“The Child-snatching Demons of Antiquity: Narrative Traditions, Psychology and Nachleben”, Ph.D. thesis, Yale University, 2004.
Gnedich, Song VIII
“Gnedich, tell me, why did I hide
in dreams as a child?”
“Probably so that I wouldn’t grieve for my mother,
yet think about her in a different way,
as though neither madness nor death existed,
but solely one moment, taken from my memory’s depths,
when she was with me,
and that moment went on in my dreams.
I created an Italy for myself,
beautiful as a mother,
so that she would hold me in her arms.
But even here it is lonely.
We left for Baia in the evening,
to see the ruins through the water of the Gulf at dawn.
Do you know about this city? Of course you do, you know everything.
It is a port city near the Stygian marshes,
here Pliny looked on as the volcano spewed the flames# that killed Pompeii.
Being Roman, he was accustomed to the sight
and knew that at death one ought to look on calmly,
(even at his own) and yet he was horrified.
In this port Caligula built a bridge of many boats,
and his horse stepped from boat
to boat until he came to Puteoli –
thus the madman outwitted an astrologer,who told him:…..