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Natalia Zaretsky

Natalia Zaretsky

Growing up in a loving family, I was married very young. I taught Physics in college in Moscow. My genius scientist husband and I were too involved in our careers and gave little time to our daughter. I managed to teach our pretty girl many things - poems, logic, to make decisions, carry a latchkey, be able to defend herself from anti-Semitic bullies.

People said, Isnít it wonderful? This child is so independent
I would say, Maybe. Maybe, it would be better, if I spent more time with her. Time passed and my daughter, 18 then, and I were ready to leave Russia a God forsaken backward country. For my husband to stay or to leave bore equal fear, he preferred the known fright to the uncertainty. We divorced, and I applied for an exit visa.

People said, Is this woman brave to leave for such a journey without a man?
I would say, Maybe. Maybe, it was just light-mindedness and subconscious craving for adventure. After three years of calamity in limbo, on a cold December day in 1980 at the Moscow airport, euphoria of anticipation burned the connection with our first life.

People said, Isnít it awfully sad to leave places of life-long attachment?
I would say, Maybe. Maybe it was just a move to another frame of reference. Joy and sorrow lie in us and are independent of where we live.
    We have landed in J.F.K. and began to learn
    who we were and who we are.
    Now, I am a Jew by choice and conviction,
    like Ruth in her final journey with Naomi,
    when she chose her Jewish future and ours
My daughter received her Master Degreeís in Music, became a performing pianist and composer, and now lives in New York City. I am retired from computer programming and live in a cozy house in New Jersey and write poetry. I was and am happy to find my Jewishness. People said, Isnít it wonderful that those two independent women achieved so much? I would say, Maybe. Maybe it would be better if I had found my Jewishness not here but in Israel?

- Natalia Zaretsky

This bio is reprinted by permission of Natalia Zaretsky from her website.
Please visit her website for more information about Natalia and her poetry.

Describe the room you write in

My day: 6:30-10 a.m. - sitting in bed (leaning at bed-rest) - revise, write, read, revise. Preparing a new manuscript. Then 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. - in my study at the computer. Right now I work on my memoirs and work, work, work. Two friends from the writing group check my English. I include a lot of poems into that book.

Talk about your life in Russia. When did you move to the US and why? How did fear play into leaving? Freedom of speech? Do you still have family there?

I left because of anti-Semitism. No fight for the freedom of speech would bring any opportunties to leave. I left because of agreement with the US - which gave Russia wheat which trade us for that commodity.

My daughter emigrated to the United States with me in 1980, and my cousin lives here with his family. My father died at age 90 last October.

Talk about your books Autumn Solstice City of Naked Feelings

In my site you can find poems from both books. I changed the title from Memory to City of Naked Feelings which will be out in January. I have a blurb from E. Hirsch and it was edited by Ilya Kaminsky (look up in the internet - he is incredible!)

Who are you reading now?

I read a lot in 2005 in NY and NJ, Next year I will plan when I got my book on hand. I attend workshop whenever it is possible.

What writers inspire you so much that you read them over and over?

Poets: Ed Hirsch, Ilya Kaminsky, Billy Collins, Ruth Kissler, Brodsky, and other Russian poets Pasternak, Achmatova, Tsvetaeva, Bulat Okudjawa and others.

Prose: Alan Lightman, Borges, Russel Haban, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Albert Maravia, Woody Allen.

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