MMIntroduction to Rilke, Tsvetayeva, Pasternak: NLetters of Summer 1926

MMnBy Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag first published this appetizer in August 2001, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, under the apt title "The Delirium of Art."

Later the same year, the piece was published as the intro- duction to an English edition of the poets' letters.

That intro was then chosen for At The Same Time, a collection of Sontag's 21st-century essays, published posthumously in 2007. It's a volume well worth keeping on the shelf. The author passed away in December 2004.

Her essay about Rilke, Pasternak and Tsvetayeva now closes a circle in my mind. For it had been Sontag's Godot in Sarajevo, in the summer of 1993, that had finally provoked my own first visit to the besieged city.N And on that first visit I'd met Kemal and Marina Bakaršić, for whom the poets' letters, between their hard covers, had long been a token of their early love, and then, when war came, had saved their lives. Very much the "raft, beacon and beach" Sontag sees.

The End