Elena Shvarts (May 17, 1948–March 1, 2010) was one of the most important poets of her generation. She was born in Leningrad in 1948 and began writing poetry at the age of thirteen during the Khrushchev’s Thaw era. Her work was not published in the Soviet Union until she was forty years old, although during the 1970s and ’80s her poems circulated widely in samizdat and her public poetry readings were popular. Her first book, Corners of the Earth (1989), sold out the day it was published. Subsequently, Shvarts published fifteen more books of poetry. In the West, her collections have been published in America, France, Germany, and England. In particular, readers may wish to consult her ‘Paradise’: Selected Poems, translated by Michael Molnar and Catriona Kelly (Bloodaxe, 1993), and Birdsong on the Seabed, translated by Sasha Dugdale (Bloodaxe, 2008).