October 31, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Catherine Ciepiela, professor of Russian at Amherst College, will read from The Same Solitude, her new book that follows the epistolary romance between Russian poets Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Amherst Books (8 Main Street). Sponsored by the Creative Writing Center at Amherst College, this event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The novel represents a fascinating study of the unlikely yet lasting relationship that arose between two of Russia’s greatest modernist poets during the 1920s. The correspondence began in 1922, after Pasternak sent a letter praising the poetry of the newly exiled Tsvetaeva, and Ciepiela masterfully develops the ensuing decade-long affair through previously untranslated letters and poems. The title of the book comes from a poignant excerpt from one of Pasternak’s letters: “Still, we have the same solitude, the same journeys and searching, and the same favorite turns in the labyrinth of literature and history.” Ciepiela’s work reveals the widening gap that grew up between an increasingly radical Soviet Russia and European Russian émigrés during this tempestuous period. The book has received superior critical praise, and Clare Cavanaugh applauds Ciepiela’s “impeccable scholarship, theoretical acumen and rich, resourceful close readings.”

Ciepiela, who received her B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from Amherst College in 1983, has been a member of the Amherst faculty since 1989. She holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, and has received fellowships from Yale University, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. She also co-edited and wrote the introduction for The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems(2006).

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information, please call 413/542-8200.