Maria Stepanova

Maria Stepanova is a poet, essayist and journalist. Born in 1972, she graduated from Moscow Literary Institute in 1995. She is the author of ten poetry collections and three books of essays, and a recipient of several Russian and international literary awards. Her documentary novel In Memory of Memory, which blends memoir, documents, and essays into an epic narrative, came out in Russian in November 2017 and received the Big Book Prize in December 2018 and NOS prize in February 2019, as well as the Brücke Berlin Prize in 2020. In Memory of Memory and the poetry collection War of the Beasts and the Animals are both due out in English translation by Sasha Dugdale in 2021. Maria Stepanova is the founder and editor-in-chief of COLTA.RU, a crowdfunded online daily covering cultural, social, and political life in Russia and abroad.

Maria Stepanova

Photo: Andrey Natotsinsky


Poetry Centre Stage »

Reading: Maria Stepanova with translator Sasha Dugdale, Aileen Ballantyne

Sat 13 March | 16:00 - 17:00 | FREE | StAnza Online

Festival Launch Extravaganza »

Enjoy a sneak peek of some of the highlights of StAnza 2021

Sat 6 March | 19:00 - 20:00 | FREE | StAnza Online


not on the earth but above or below
war’s deep grunt
producing slimy rivers of sweat
its hand feels for the gut

and we          stagger
carry ourselves through the darkness

and mother demeter mithering in the muck
and anguish of the fields
hears from below: mother fuck
yet the sky might be brightening, or so it feels

and mother hecate comes out for a smoke
from the back street
from the foul black streets from the pecking fowl
the puddles of spilt milk

the earth lying like a kitbag
behind enemy  lines           give it tongue
mother mary hurries
but hasn’t yet come

Maria Stepanova, tr. Sasha Dugdale

Forthcoming in War of the Beasts and the Animals (Bloodaxe Books, 2021)