Sofiya Yuzefpolskaya-Tsilosani

Poet’ Statement: The ability to create is our divine birthright. Dare to partake in the act of creation with awe, love, tenderness and unaging curiosity. Be bold. Plough the soil of your life and the sun will shine, the rain will come,the seed will grow and the word will reveal. And the Divinity will smile on you… 


Sofiya was born in the city of Samara. At the age of 15 she moved with her family to her father’s native city of St Petersburg where she attended  Herzen Pedagogical University  majoring in philology. In 1989 she and her family immigrated to the United States. In a short while after the immigration and the birth of her fourth child she resumed her studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her B.A. in Liberal Studies, sumcum lauder, in 1994 and  M.A. in Russian literature in 1996. During her graduate studies she taught Russian Language and Literature, worked as a researcher and as a Library Based Educational Project Coordinator.  Her scholarly articles at the time were published  in the  “Dictionary of Literary Biography” and  Slavic and Eastern European Journal. She also participated in numerous scholarly conferences and was a recipient of the highest award in the R. M. R. Competition for her paper on O. Mandelshtam and I. Babel.

In 2005 she successfully defended her dissertation on the poetry of Arseny Tarkovsky and  earned her PHD. Her  dissertation became the base for her first published  book “The Pulse of Time: Immortality and the Word in the Poetry of Arsenii Tarkovskii”, 2007.  The same year was marked with the first publication of her russian poems in the journal Interpoeziya

Sofiya started to write  in her early teens and her poems circulated among St Petersburg poetry lovers in samizdat form. Then her muse rescinded to the background for about 15 years as adjusting to new life, raising her family and scholarly pursuits came to the fore. In 2000 she turned to translating Russian poets to English which reignited her own poetic spark. Her poetic muse returned much matured  with many new gifts as well as with the gift of  realizing that creating poetry is at the core of her being and the major vector on her life path.  Her first selection of Russian and English poetry  “Goluboy Ogon” (“Blue LIght”) was published in 2012 in  the city of Tbilisi.  2013 saw her poetry published in the International Anthology  “The Women Poets of the World”.  2016 was marked by publication of her third book and  her second poetry selection “Strannstviya”  (“Passages”) in St. Petersburg.

Sofiya is a member of  the St. Petersburg Union of Russian Writers and ORLITA

She was the  finalist of the international poetry competitions  “Emigrant Lira”, 2014, where she earned the title “The best poet in finalists eyes”. In 2015 she became the finalist at the  “Pushkin in Britain Poetry Competition” and the  laureate at the International internet poetry competition  “Emigrant Lira ” . She is also the four time award winner in the  poetry nomination at the Duke Richeliue International Competition including the highest award of the Brilliant Duke in 2015. Her poetry was published in such literary almanacs  as  “Crossroads”, “Image”  “Under  One Sky” “Emigrant Lyra”, “Pushkin in Britain”, “The Women Poets of the World”, “On  the Georgian Hills”, “IInterpoeziya”,” Elegant New York”, “The Epoch Times”, “Masterskaya”,  “Podlennik” and other international periodicals.

As the America poet Fred Lamonttte noted, Sofiya has “a profoundly modern yet ancient voice”

This quality of her poetry was perceived by many of her readers Russian and American alike. In his “Open letter to Sofiya”  the American poet Tim Buck writes:

“What I like about your poems is how the lines are like spoken spells. They constitute an act of indirect conjuring. In the openness of your lyrics, the more-than-life peeps through. The mystic unsayable that Wittgenstein alluded to or pointed toward is given space to breathe.”

In much the same fashion the Russian poet Maksim Perminov mentions in his introduction to Sofiya’s poetry selection in the almanach “ The Women Poets of the World”:

“то обстоятельство, что стихи Софии культуроцентричны, симфоничны, философски насыщенны, вы оцените в одиннадцатую — почетную, конечно, но все-таки одиннадцатую очередь. В первые десять вы — свидетель словорождения, самого процесса словорождения — жаркого, стремительного, более живого, чем жизнь. “

(“The fact that Sofia’s poems  are culturally centered, symphonic, philosophically rich, you will appreciate in the eleventh – honorable, of course, but still the eleventh place.  In the first ten you will witness the very process of the speech creation –  hot, impetuous, more vivid than life itself.)