Tanya Verver: Kaleidoscope Poetry

Review by Aleksandra Ivanskaia

The poetry of Tanya Verver in English and Russian is an example of talented, thoughtful creative work. Poems in Russian are often filled with pain, longing for something inexpressible. Tania’s English poems, in my opinion, are more traditional and easy to read.

For example, the poem by Tanya Verver “Age of the Universe” belongs to the Love Letters cycle. From the first lines it surprises the reader with its measured rhythm and neat rhyming, reminiscent of ancient ballads. 

Look at me through the age of the universe
See the final stage of the only verse

The author’s lexical choices are in harmony with the overall style of the poem, balancing between the personal and the universal or existential. The author mentions the Age of Aquarius, the Bible, the Earth, truth, death, the Universe. The personal, intimate level of the poem, on the contrary, is filled with simple and sincere phrases, such as: “every time I look deeper in your eyes…”, “I’m forever yours, never set me free”. This elegantly woven contrast creates a unique atmosphere of the poem, making me return to the lines I just read and think – how do we feel the breath of the universe? Maybe it’s only through the breath of a loved one that you can feel it?

The theme of the Age of Aquarius is continued by the author in the next poem – small in volume, fascinating in its laconicism and neat classical form:

Why did you leave me why did you love me
Such a naive me would never argue
Never an issue for dear Tanya
Will I still miss you without money
God will forgive you I will forget you
Used to believe you to never get you
So many various unknown “whether”
Age of Aquarius greeted together.

When I read this poem, I imagine its author, Tanya, playing with words like a child would play with a kaleidoscope toy. Tanya seems to slightly turn the word in her hands – and it changes its shape and meaning, glowing with new facets. For example, leave-love, forgive-forget, naive me – never argue. And I can clearly sense something more behind this game. This is not just a language trick learned from a textbook. In this ambivalence of words, I see the eternal game of partners in love, lasting for thousands of years. While playing it, we try to guess: how do you see this world? Same as me or different? Can I trust you, or will you disappear like the fleeting pattern of a kaleidoscope? What word will I see in your eyes -love or leave? I admire the poet’s courage and sincerity in this short but elegant poem, which shows a woman at the same time tender and strong, capable of ironizing the imperfections of romantic relationships.

These are just two poems by Tanya Verver that touched my heart. In my review, I didn’t want to write general scientific words or routine praise. I wanted to talk about how I feel reading them.

Best regards
Aleksandra Ivanskaia
MA in Russian Language and Literature
Laureate of the national competition of amateur poets in the “Debut-2022” category
Mother of 4 children
Pennsylvania, US

Maria Lewis

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