Russian Women Writers about Vera Zubareva :
"Vera Zubareva, a recent émigré,
has already received due recognition of her poetry, and literary
critics and fellow poets expect that she will continue to
contribute to the Russian poetic tradition over the next decades.
Zubareva was born in Odessa, one of the most spiritually independent
cities in the former Soviet union. ...Zubareva found the meaning
and interest of her existence exclusively in literary work. An awareness
of God, evidently connected with poetic inspiration, came very early
to her. She never imagined God as giving or somehow improving her
life, but saw Him exclusively as the Creator, and this was for her
His singular worth. Zubareva's refusal to write according to "the
demands of the Fatherland" was specifically linked with this awareness.
When, many years ago at the Odessa Writers' Union, the secretary
of the Board of Directors suggested that she "work a bit" on a more
"contemporary" theme - that is, churn out ideological doggerel -
and promised that this would further the publication of her first
book, Zubareva walked out and never went back. At that time (1975-81)
she graduated from the Odessa University Philology Department. Her first
publication was as a literary scholar: after a brilliant defense
of her thesis on Chekhov, the department chair petitioned the university
publisher to print excerpted articles from it in a collection of
academic articles entitled Questions in Russian Literature (Voprosy
russkoj literatury ). A second article, distinguished for
its greater maturity and boldness, was rejected by the reviewer
as a "distorted image of Chekhov." The editor of the collection
added a postscript to the end of the "denunciatory" letter in which
she begged her not to abandon her research on Chekhov or lose heart.
She did not lose heart, but she suspended her research, as she thought
that only poetry was supposed to be written "for the drawer." As
Zubareva states in an autobiographical sketch: "Baskerville Old
Face" One day I dialed
Akhmadulina's number and for some reason
she agreed to meet with me. No, I didn't go to her with a request
for help. Since her Gift was the thing I valued most highly, I went
to meet her in order to see the person who possessed It. My impression
of that meeting has not been erased from my memory up to this day.
I managed to meet an artist whose talent is as great as her humanity.
The strength of her soul served as a serious support to me for many
years afterward. Some time later, I found out, quite coincidentally,
from the editor of the poetry division of the Moscow Journal Successors
[Smena] that Bella Akhmadulina had requested that my poetry be included
in his publication. Thus appeared two of my works, one of which
was accompanied by an introduction written by Akhmadulina. After
that, people in Odessa began to "notice" me again and even began
preparations to publish my book. But it was already too late. I
quit the bounds of my motherland.
On January 16, 1990,
Zubareva landed in the U.S. and that same year was accepted in the
Department of Slavic Languages of the University of Pennsylvania
both as a graduate student and as a Russian language teacher. She
immediately began publishing her poems and articles in New Russian
Word (NRS), Facets (Grani), and other publications. Zubareva's
first book of poetry, Aura, with a foreword by Bella Akhmadulina,
was published in 1990. In 1990 the Pushkin organization in NY (headed
by the Pushkin scholar Mark Mitnik) named Zubareva Poet of the Year.
She also occasionally appears on the pages of her native Odessa
publication as a "Russian
poet living abroad."
Greenwood Publishing, 1994, p.p.759-760)