Translator's notes

Staying in the Woodman’s Cabin

By Marina Boroditskaya

Some things you might like to know about Marina Boroditskaya:

  • Marina doesn’t just write poems. She also has her own radio programme called Literary First Aid Kit, and she prescribes poems instead of medicines to listeners to help them feel better.
  • She comes from a family of musicians. Her father was a violinist and her mother was a pianist. When Marina was little she practised piano for hours every day with an alarm clock on the top of the piano and a book hidden on her lap – to glance at hungrily when she could.
  • When she had young children and she was trying to write and look after her family she pegged pages up over the cold-water sink at her summer house so she could wash her children’s underwear and translate poems at the same time!
  • She wrote ‘First Day at School’ to tease her son when he went to school for the first time. Now he’s grown up and he has a daughter who will soon be going to school.
  • In Russian a ‘sun hare’ is a speck of light reflected on the wall. When the sun shines in the window you can make a sun hare run over the wall by reflecting the light with your watch or a mirror. So what or who is the ‘Moon Hare’?
  • Marina translates lots of English books and poems into Russian, including The Gruffalo and Hairy Maclary. She wanted to rename Gruffalo in Russian as Grizlodile (a mixture of grizzly bear, gnashing teeth and crocodile) but she wasn’t allowed to!

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