Anna Akhmatova
Overview
Anna Andreyevna Gorenko ( – March 5, 1966), better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova , was a Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

.Harrington (2006) p11

Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935–40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

.
Quotations

O let the organ, many-voiced, sing boldly, O let it roar like spring's first thunderstorm! My half-closed eyes over your young bride's shoulder Will meet your eyes just once and then no more.

Translated by Irina Zheleznova

I go forth to seek — To seek and claim the lovely magic garden Where grasses softly sigh and Muses speak.

Translated by Irina Zheleznova

You thought I was that type: That you could forget me, And that I'd plead and weep And throw myself under the hooves of a bay mare...

"You Thought I Was That Type"

Damn you! I will not grant your cursed soul Vicarious tears or a single glance. And I swear to you by the garden of the angels, I swear by the miracle-working icon, And by the fire and smoke of our nights: I will never come back to you.

"You Thought I Was That Type"

I don't know if you're alive or dead. Can you on earth be sought, Or only when the sunsets fade Be mourned serenely in my thought?

"I Don't Know If You're Alive Or Dead" (1915)

No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured Me more, not Even the one who betrayed me to torture, Not even the one who caressed me and forgot.

"I Don't Know If You're Alive Or Dead" (1915)

Why is this century worse than those others? Maybe, because, in sadness and alarm, It only touched the blackest of the ulcers, But couldn't heal it in its span of time.

"Why is this century worse than those others?" (1919), translated by Yevgeny Bonver (2000)

All has been looted, betrayed, sold; black death's wing flashed ahead.

"Looted" (1921), as translated by Dmitri Obolensky

You will hear thunder and remember me, And think: she wanted storms. The rim Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson, And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

"You will hear thunder and remember me...", translated by D. M. Thomas|D. M. Thomas

That day in Moscow, it will all come true, when, for the last time, I take my leave, And hasten to the heights that I have longed for, Leaving my shadow still to be with you.

"You will hear thunder and remember me...", translated by D. M. Thomas

Encyclopedia
Anna Andreyevna Gorenko ( – March 5, 1966), better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova , was a Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

.Harrington (2006) p11

Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935–40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

. Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. The strong and clear leading female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry. Her writing can be said to fall into two periods - the early work (1912–25) and her later work (from around 1936 until her death), divided by a decade of reduced literary output. Her work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities and she is notable for choosing not to emigrate, and remaining in Russia, acting as witness to the atrocities around her. Her perennial themes include meditations on time and memory, and the difficulties of living and writing in the shadow of Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

.

Primary sources of information about Akhmatova's life are relatively scant, as war, revolution and the totalitarian regime caused much of the written record to be destroyed. For long periods she was in official disfavour and many of those who were close to her died in the aftermath of the revolution.

Early life and family

Akhmatova was born at Bolshoy Fontan, near the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 port of Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

. Her father, Andrey Antonovich Gorenko, a civil servant, and her mother, Inna Erazmovna Stogova, were both descended from the Russian nobility
Russian nobility
The Russian nobility arose in the 14th century and essentially governed Russia until the October Revolution of 1917.The Russian word for nobility, Dvoryanstvo , derives from the Russian word dvor , meaning the Court of a prince or duke and later, of the tsar. A nobleman is called dvoryanin...

. Akhmatova wrote,
"No one in my large family wrote poetry. But the first Russian woman poet, Anna Bunina, was the aunt of my grandfather Erasm Ivanovich Stogov. The Stogovs were modest landowners in the Mozhaisk region of the Moscow Province. They were moved here after the insurrection during the time of Posadnitsa Marfa. In Novgorod they had been a wealthier and more distinguished family. Khan Akhmat, my ancestor, was killed one night in his tent by a Russian killer-for-hire. Karamzin tells us that this marked the end of the Mongol yoke on Russia. [...] It was well known that this Akhmat was a descendant of Genghiz Khan. In the eighteenth century, one of the Akhmatov Princesses - Praskovia Yegorvna - married the rich and famous Simbirsk landowner Motovilov. Yegor Motovilov was my great-grandfather; his daughter, Anna Yegorovna, was my grandmother. She died when my mother was nine years old, and I was named in her honour. Several diamond rings and one emerald were made from her brooch. Though my fingers are thin, still her thimble didn't fit me."

Her family moved north to Tsarskoye Selo
Tsarskoye Selo
Tsarskoye Selo is the town containing a former Russian residence of the imperial family and visiting nobility, located south from the center of St. Petersburg. It is now part of the town of Pushkin and of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.-History:In...

, near St. Petersburg when she was eleven months old. The family lived in a house on the corner of Shirokaya Street and Bezymyanny Lane; (the building is no longer there today), spending summers from age 7 to 13 in a dacha
Dacha
Dacha is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes often located in the exurbs of Soviet and post-Soviet cities. Cottages or shacks serving as family's main or only home are not considered dachas, although many purpose-built dachas are recently being converted for year-round residence...

 near Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

.Martin (2007) p2 She studied at the Mariinskaya High School, moving to Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 (1906–10) and finished her schooling there, after her parents separated in 1905. She went on to study law at Kiev University
Kiev University
Taras Shevchenko University or officially the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv , colloquially known in Ukrainian as KNU is located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is the third oldest university in Ukraine after the University of Lviv and Kharkiv University. Currently, its structure...

, leaving a year later to study literature in St Petersburg.

Akhmatova started writing poetry at the age of 11, and published in her late teens, inspired by the poets Nikolay Nekrasov, Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

, Pushkin, Baratynsky
Evgeny Baratynsky
Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky was lauded by Alexander Pushkin as the finest Russian elegiac poet. After a long period when his reputation was on the wane, Baratynsky was rediscovered by Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky as a supreme poet of thought.- Life :Of noble ancestry, Baratynsky was...

 and the Symbolists
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

  however none of her juvenilia survives. Her sister Inna also wrote poetry though she did not pursue the practice and married shortly after high school. Akhmatova's father did not want to see any verses printed under his "respectable" name, so she chose to adopt her grandmother's distinctly Tatar surname 'Akhmatova' as a pen name.Anderson (2004)
She met the young poet, Nikolay Gumilev on Christmas Eve 1903, who encouraged her to write and pursued her intensely, making numerous marriage proposals from 1905. At 17 years old, in his journal Sirius, she published her first poem which could be translated as On his hand are many shiny rings, (1907) signing it ‘Anna G.’ Martin (2007) p3 She soon became known in St Petersburg's artistic circles, regularly giving public readings. That year, she wrote unenthusiastically to a friend, “He has loved me for three years now, and I believe that it is my fate to be his wife. Whether or not I love him, I do not know, but it seems to me that I do.” She married Gumilev in Kiev in April 1910, however none of Akhmatova’s family attended the wedding. The couple honeymooned in Paris, and there she met and befriended the Italian artist Modigliani
Amedeo Modigliani
Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France. Primarily a figurative artist, he became known for paintings and sculptures in a modern style characterized by mask-like faces and elongation of form...

.

In late 1910, she came together with poets such as Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets...

 and Sergey Gorodetsky to form the Guild of Poets. It promoted the idea of craft as the key to poetry rather than inspiration or mystery, taking themes of the concrete rather than the more ephemeral world of the Symbolists
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

. Over time, they developed the influential Acmeist anti-symbolist school, concurrent with the growth of Imagism
Imagism
Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets,...

 in Europe and America. From the first year of their marriage, Gumilyov began to chafe against its constraints. She wrote that he had "lost his passion" for her and by the end of that year he left on a six month trip to Africa. Akhmatova had "her first taste of fame", becoming renowned, not so much for her beauty, as her intense magnetism and allure, attracting the fascinated attention of a great many men, including the great and the good. She returned to visit Modigliani in Paris, where he created at least 20 paintings of her, including several nudes. She later began an affair with the celebrated Acmeist poet Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets...

, whose wife, Nadezhda
Nadezhda Mandelstam
Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelstam was a Russian writer and educator, and the wife of the poet Osip Mandelstam, who died in 1938 in a transit camp to the gulag of Siberia...

, declared later, in her autobiography that she came to forgive Akhmatova for it in time. Akhmatova's son, Lev, was born in 1912, and would go on to become a renowned Neo-Eurasianist historian.

Silver Age

In 1912, the Guild of Poets published her book of verse Evening (Vecher) - the first of five in nine years. The small edition of 500 copies quickly sold out and she received around a dozen positive notices in the literary press. She exercised a strong selectivity for the pieces - including only 35 of the 200 poems she had written by the end of 1911. (She noted that Song of the Last Meeting, dated 29 September 1911, was her 200th poem). The book secured her reputation as a new and striking young writer, the poems Grey-eyed king, In the Forest, Over the Water and I don’t need my legs anymore making her famous. She later wrote "These naïve poems by a frivolous girl for some reason were reprinted thirteen times [...] And they came out in several translations. The girl herself (as far as I recall) did not foresee such a fate for them and used to hide the issues of the journals in which they were first published under the sofa cushions".Martin (2007) p. 4

Her second collection, The Rosary (or Beads - Chetki) appeared in March 1914 and firmly established her as one of the most popular and sought after poets of the day. Thousands of women composed poems "in honour of Akhmatova", mimicking her style and prompting Akhmatova to exclaim: "I taught our women how to speak, but don't know how to make them silent". Her aristocratic manners and artistic integrity won her the titles "Queen of the Neva" and "Soul of the Silver Age
Silver Age of Russian Poetry
Silver Age is a term traditionally applied by Russian philologists to the first two decades of the 20th century. It was an exceptionally creative period in the history of Russian poetry, on par with the Golden Age a century earlier...

," as the period came to be known in the history of Russian poetry. In Poem Without a Hero, the longest and one of the best known of her works, written many decades later, she would recall this as a blessed time of her life. "Poem Without a Hero" was inspired by Pushkin's Eugene Onegin
Eugene Onegin
Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin.It is a classic of Russian literature, and its eponymous protagonist has served as the model for a number of Russian literary heroes . It was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832...

She became close friends with Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian language poet, novelist, and literary translator. In his native Russia, Pasternak's anthology My Sister Life, is one of the most influential collections ever published in the Russian language...

 (who, though married, proposed to her many times) and rumours began to circulate that she was having an affair with influential lyrical poet Alexander Blok
Alexander Blok
Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was a Russian lyrical poet.-Life and career:Blok was born in Saint Petersburg, into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were literary men, his father being a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather the rector of Saint Petersburg...

. In July 1914, Akhmatova wrote “Frightening times are approaching/ Soon fresh graves will cover the land"; on August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, marking the start of "the dark storm" of world war, civil war, revolution and totalitarian repression for Russia.Martin (2007) p. 5 The Silver Age
Silver Age of Russian Poetry
Silver Age is a term traditionally applied by Russian philologists to the first two decades of the 20th century. It was an exceptionally creative period in the history of Russian poetry, on par with the Golden Age a century earlier...

 came to a close.
Akhmatova had a relationship with the mosaic artist and poet Boris Anrep
Boris Anrep
Boris Vasilyevich Anrep was a Russian artist, active in Britain, who devoted himself to the art of mosaic....

; many of her poems in the period are about him and he in turn created mosaics in which she features.See here for mosaic images
Boris Anrep
Boris Vasilyevich Anrep was a Russian artist, active in Britain, who devoted himself to the art of mosaic....

  Mosaics located in the National Gallery in London. In the Cathedral of Christ the King Mullingar, Anrep’s mosaic of Saint Anne is spelt Anna - the saint’s image bears a close resemblance to Akhmatova in her mid-20s. He also depicted Akhmatova in a religious mosaic entitled Compassion.
For commentary on the relationship between Akhmatova and Anrep, see Wendy Rosslyn, "A propos of Anna Akhmatova: Boris Vasilyevich Anrep (1883 - 1969)," New Zealand Slavonic Journal 1 (1980): p. 25-34. She selected poems for her third collection Belaya Staya (White Flock) in 1917, a volume which poet and critic Joseph Brodsky
Joseph Brodsky
Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky , was a Russian poet and essayist.In 1964, 23-year-old Brodsky was arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism" He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters...

 later described as writing of personal lyricism tinged with the “note of controlled terror”. She later came to be memorialised by his description of her as "the keening muse". Essayist John Bayley describes her writing at this time as "grim, spare and laconic".Bayley, John (1984) Selected Essays Cambridge University Press. "The greatness of Akhmatova: Requiem and Poem Without a Hero translated by DM Thomas". pp140-142 ISBN 0521278457 In February 1917, the revolution started in Petersburg (then named Petrograd); soldiers fired on marching protestors, and others mutinied. They looked to a past in which the future was "rotting". In a city with out electricity or sewage service, with little water or food, they faced starvation and sickness. Her friends died around her and others left in droves for safer havens in Europe and America, including Anrep, who escaped to England. She had the option to leave, and considered it for a time, but chose to stay and was proud of her decision to remain. That summer she wrote:

You are a traitor, and for a green island,
Have betrayed, yes, betrayed your native
Land,
Abandoned all our songs and sacred
Icons,
And the pine tree over a quiet lake. (From Green Island. Trans. Jane Kenyon)


She wrote of her own temptation to leave:
A voice came to me. It called out comfortingly.
It said, "Come here,
Leave your deaf and sinful land,
Leave Russia forever,
I will wash the blood from your hands,
Root out the black shame from your heart,
[...] calmly and indifferently,
I covered my ears with my hands,
So that my sorrowing spint
Would not be stained by those shameful words. (From When in suicidal anguish (Trans. Jane Kenyon)



At the height of Akhmatova's fame, in 1918, she divorced her husband and that same year, though many of her friends considered it a mistake, Akhmatova married prominent Assyriologist and poet Vladimir Shilejko.Harrington (2006) p16Wells (1996) p11 She later said “I felt so filthy. I thought it would be like a cleansing, like going to a convent, knowing you are going to lose your freedom.” Martin (2007) p6 She began affairs with theatre director Mikhail Zimmerman and composer Arthur Lourié
Arthur Lourié
Arthur-Vincent Lourié, born Naum Izrailevich Luria , later changed his name to Artur Sergeyevich Luriye was a significant Russian composer. Lourié played an important role in the earliest stages of the organization of Soviet music after the 1917 Revolution but later went into exile...

, who set many of her poems to music.

The accursed years

In 1921, Akhmatova's former husband Nikolay Gumilyov
Nikolay Gumilyov
Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilev was an influential Russian poet who founded the acmeism movement.-Early life and poems:Nikolai was born in the town of Kronstadt on Kotlin Island, into the family of Stepan Yakovlevich Gumilev , a naval physician, and Anna Ivanovna L'vova . His childhood nickname was...

 was prosecuted for his alleged role in a monarchist anti-Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 conspiracy and on 25 August was shot along with 61 others. According to the historian Rayfield, the murder of Gumilev was part of the state response to the Kronstadt Rebellion
Kronstadt rebellion
The Kronstadt rebellion was one of many major unsuccessful left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War...

. The Cheka
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 (secret police) blamed the rebellion on Petrograd's intellectuals, prompting the senior Cheka officer Agranov
Yakov Agranov
Yakov Saulovich Agranov was a prominent member of the Cheka, the forerunner of the Soviet KGB....

 to forcibly extract the names of 'conspirators', from an imprisoned professor, guaranteeing them amnesty from execution. Agranov then pronounced death sentences on a large number of them, including Gumilev. Gorky
Maxim Gorky
Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

 and others appealed, but by the time Lenin agreed to several pardons, the condemned had been shot. Within a few days of his death, Akhmatova wrote:

Terror fingers all things in the dark,
Leads moonlight to the axe.
There's an ominous knock behind the
wall:
A ghost, a thief or a rat...Martin (2007) p7

The murders had a powerful effect on the Russian intelligentsia, destroying the Acmeist poetry group, and placing a stigma on Akhmatova and her son Lev (by Gumilev). Lev's later arrest in the purges and terrors of the 1930s were based on being his father's son.Kunitz and Hayward, Max (1973) p15-16 From a new Marxist perspective, Akhmatova's poetry was deemed to represent an introspective "bourgeois aesthetic", reflecting only trivial "female" preoccupations, not in keeping with these new revolutionary politics of the time. She was roundly attacked by the state, by former supporters and friends, and seen to be an anachronism. During what she termed "The Vegetarian Years", Akhmatova's work was unofficially banned by a party resolution of 1925 and she found it hard to publish, though she didn't stop writing poetry. She made acclaimed translations of works by Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

, Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

, Giacomo Leopardi
Giacomo Leopardi
Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi was an Italian poet, essayist, philosopher, and philologist...

 and pursued academic work on Pushkin and Dostoyevsky. She worked as a critic and essayist, though many critics and readers both within and outside USSR concluded she had died.Harrington (2006) p16 She had little food and almost no money; her son was denied access to study at academic institutions by dint of his parents' alleged anti-state activities. The impact of the nation-wide repression and purges had a decimating effect on her St Petersburg circle of friends, artists and intellectuals. Her close friend and fellow poet Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets...

 was deported and then sentenced to a Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 labour camp, where he would die. Akhmatova narrowly escaped arrest, though her son Lev was imprisoned on numerous occasions by the Stalinist regime, accused of counter-revolutionary activity.Harrington (2006) p17 She would often queue for hours to deliver him food packages and plead on his behalf. She describes standing outside a stone prison:

"One day somebody in the crowd identified me. Standing behind me was a woman, with lips blue from cold, who had, of course, never heard me called by name before. Now she started out of the torpor common to us all and asked me in a whisper (everyone whispered there):
" 'Can you describe this?'
"And I said: 'I can.'
"Then something like a smile passed fleetingly over what had once been her face."

Akhmatova wrote that by 1935 every time she went to see someone off at the train station as they went into exile, she'd find herself greeting friends at every step as so many of St Petersburg's intellectual and cultural figures would be leaving on the same train.Wells (1996) p15) In her poetry circles Mayakovsky
Mayakovsky
Vladimir Mayakovsky was a Russian poet and playwright, among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.Mayakovsky or Mayakovskaya may also refer to:...

 and Esenin committed suicide and Akhmatova's sister poet Marina Tsvetaeva
Marina Tsvetaeva
Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva was a Russian and Soviet poet. Her work is considered among some of the greatest in twentieth century Russian literature. She lived through and wrote of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed it. In an attempt to save her daughter Irina from...

 would follow them in 1941, after returning from exile.

Akhmatova married an art scholar and lifelong friend, Nikolai Punin
Nikolai Punin
Nikolay Nikolayevich Punin was a Russian art scholar and writer. He edited several magazines, such as Izobrazitelnoye Iskusstvo among others, and was also co-founder of the Department of Iconography in the State Russian Museum...

, whom she stayed with until 1935. He too was repeatedly taken into custody and died in the Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 in 1953.Their home in The Fountain House, on the Fontanka
Fontanka
Fontanka is a left branch of the river Neva, which flows through the whole of Central Saint Petersburg, Russia. Its length is 6,700 meters, its width is up to 70 meters, and its depth is up to 3,5 meters. The Fontanka Embankment is lined with the former private residences of Russian nobility.This...

 river in St Petersburg, is now an Akhmatova museum.
Her tragic cycle Requiem documents her personal experience of this time; as she writes, "one hundred million voices shout" through her "tortured mouth".


Seventeen months I've pleaded
for you to come home.
Flung myself at the hangman’s feet.
My terror, oh my son.
And I can’t understand.
Now all’s eternal confusion.
Who’s beast, and who’s man?
How long till execution?
(from Requiem. Trans. A.S. Kline, 2005).

From 1939: The thaw

In 1939, Stalin approved the publication of one volume of poetry, From Six Books, however the collection was withdrawn and pulped after only a few months.Harrington (2006) p18 In 1993, it was revealed that the authorities had bugged her flat and kept her under constant surveillance, keeping detailed files on her from this time, accruing some 900 pages of "denunciations, reports of phone taps, quotations from writings, confessions of those close to her". Although officially stifled, Akhmatova's work continued to circulate in secret (samizdat
Samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

), her work hidden, passed and read in the gulags.Booker, M. K (2005) Encyclopaedia of Literature and Politics:Censorship, Revolution, and Writing Vol. 1 A-G. Greenwood p21 ISBN 0313329397 Akhmatova's close friend and chronicler Lydia Chukovskaya
Lydia Chukovskaya
Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya was a Soviet writer and poet. Her deeply personal writings reflect the human cost of Soviet totalitarianism, and she devoted much of her career to defending dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov...

 described how writers working to keep poetic messages alive used various strategies. A small trusted circle would, for example, memorise each others' works and circulate them only by oral means. She tells how Akhmatova would write out her poem for a visitor on a scrap of paper to be read in a moment, then burnt in her stove. The poems were carefully disseminated in this way, however it is likely that many complied in this manner were lost. "It was like a ritual," Chukovskaya wrote. "Hands, matches, an ashtray. A ritual beautiful and bitter."

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Akhmatova witnessed the 900 day Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

 (now St Petersburg). In 1940, Akhmatova started her Poem without a Hero, finishing a first draft in Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

, but working on "The Poem" for twenty years and considering it to be the major work of her life, dedicating it to "the memory of its first audience - my friends and fellow citizens who perished in Leningrad during the siege".Martin (2007) p10 She was evacuated to Chistopol
Chistopol
Chistopol is a town in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, located on the left bank of the Kuybyshev Reservoir, on the Kama River. Population: It is served by the Chistopol Airport.-History:It was first mentioned in chronicles at the end of the 17th century...

 in spring of 1942 and then to greener, safer Tashkent in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, along with other artists, such as Shostakovitch. During her time away she became seriously ill with typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 (she had suffered from severe bronchitis
Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi in the lungs that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks. Characteristic symptoms include cough, sputum production, and shortness of breath and wheezing related to the obstruction of the inflamed airways...

 and tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 as a young woman). On returning to Leningrad in May 1944, she writes of how disturbed she was to find "a terrible ghost that pretended to be my city". She regularly read to soldiers in the military hospitals and on the front line; indeed, her later pieces seem to be the voice of those who had struggled and the many she has outlived. She moved away from romantic themes towards a more diverse, complex and philosophical body of work and some of her more patriotic poems found their way to the front pages of Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

.Wells (1996) p18 She was condemned for a visit by the liberal, western, Jewish philosopher Isaiah Berlin
Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin OM, FBA was a British social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas of Russian-Jewish origin, regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century and a dominant liberal scholar of his generation...

 in 1946, and Official Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Zhdanov
Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov was a Soviet politician.-Life:Zhdanov enlisted with the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1915 and was promoted through the party ranks, becoming the All-Union Communist Party manager in Leningrad after the assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934...

 publicly labelled her "half harlot, half nun", her work "the poetry of an overwrought, upper-class lady", her work the product of "eroticism, mysticism, and political indifference". He banned her poems from publication in the journals Zvezda
Zvezda (magazine)
Zvezda is a Russian literary magazine published in Saint Petersburg since 1924. It began as a bimonthly, but has been monthly since 1927.- History :The first issue of Zvezda appeared in January 1924, with Ivan Maisky as editor-in-chief...

and Leningrad, accusing her of poisoning the minds of Soviet youth. Her surveillance was increased and she was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers
USSR Union of Writers
The USSR Union of Writers, or Union of Soviet Writers was a creative union of professional writers in the USSR. It was founded in 1932 on the initiative of the Central Committee of the Communist Party after disbanding a number of other writers' organizations: RAPP, Proletkult, and VOAPP.The aim of...

.Martin (2007) p12 Berlin described his visit to her flat: It was very barely furnished—virtually everything in it had, I gathered, been taken away—looted or sold—during the siege . . . . A stately, grey-haired lady, a white shawl draped about her shoulders, slowly rose to greet us. Anna Akhmatova was immensely dignified, with unhurried gestures, a noble head, beautiful, somewhat severe features, and an expression of immense sadness.Martin (2007) p11

Akhmatova's son Lev was arrested again at the end of 1949 and sentenced to 10 years in a Siberian prison camp. She spent much of the next years trying to ensure his release, to this end, and for the first time, she published overtly propagandist poetry, “In Praise of Peace,” in the magazine Ogoniok, openly supporting Stalin and his regime.Wells (1996) p21 Lev remained in the camps until 1956, well after Stalin's death, his final release potentially aided by his mother's concerted efforts. Bayley suggests that her period of pro-Stalinist work may also have saved her own life; notably however, Akhmatova never acknowledged these pieces in her official corpus. Akhmatova's stature among Soviet poets was slowly conceded by party officials, her name no longer cited in only scathing contexts and she was readmitted to Union of Writers
USSR Union of Writers
The USSR Union of Writers, or Union of Soviet Writers was a creative union of professional writers in the USSR. It was founded in 1932 on the initiative of the Central Committee of the Communist Party after disbanding a number of other writers' organizations: RAPP, Proletkult, and VOAPP.The aim of...

 in 1951, being fully recognised again following Stalin's death in 1953. With the press still heavily controlled and censored under Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

, a translation by Akhmatova was praised in a public review in 1955, and her own poems began to re-appear in 1956. In this year Lev was released from the camps, embittered, believing that his mother cared more about her poetry than her son and that she had not worked hard for his release. Akhmatova's status was confirmed by 1958, with the publication of Stikhotvoreniya (Poems) and then Stikhotvoreniya 1909-1960 (Poems: 1909-1960) in 1961. Beg vremeni (The flight of time), collected works 1909-1965, published in 1965, was the most complete volume of her works in her lifetime, though the long damning poem Requiem, condemning the Stalinist purges, was conspicuously absent. Isaiah Berlin predicted at the time that it could never be published in the Soviet Union.

Last years

During the last years of her life she continued to live with the Punin family in Leningrad, still translating, researching Pushkin and writing her own poetry.Wells (1996) p22 Though still censored, she was concerned to re-construct work that had been destroyed or suppressed during the purges or which had posed a threat to the life of her son in the camps, such as the lost, semi-autobiographical play Enûma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

. "Enûma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

" are the opening words of a Babylonian creation myth. It could be translated as "when at the summit". Accounts differ as to when it was destroyed. Polivanov, who knew Akhmatova, suggests it was written in Tashkent while suffering from Typhus and burnt in fear in 1944. The poet read the play to friends before she burnt it, and it is reported to concern the Kafkaesque imprisonment and trial of a woman poet, who does not why she has been interned, roundly condemning Stalin and the arbitrary nature of his purges. During the 1960s Akhmatova tried to recall the text. Polivanov reports that her friend "could not remember her shortest poems, much less a long text". No text of the play is extant. [Polivanov (1994) p213-4].
She worked on her official memoirs, planned novels and worked on her epic Poem without a hero, 20 years in the writing.(1996) Wells p23

Akhmatova was widely honoured in USSR and the West. In 1962 she was visited by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and...

; Isaiah Berlin tried to visit her again, but she refused him, worried that her son might be re-arrested due to family association with the ideologically suspect western philosopher. She inspired and advised a large circle of key young Soviet writers. Her dacha
Dacha
Dacha is a Russian word for seasonal or year-round second homes often located in the exurbs of Soviet and post-Soviet cities. Cottages or shacks serving as family's main or only home are not considered dachas, although many purpose-built dachas are recently being converted for year-round residence...

 in Komarovo
Komarovo, Saint Petersburg
Komarovo is a municipal settlement in Kurortny District of the federal city of Saint Petersburg, Russia, located on the Karelian Isthmus on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, and a station of the Saint Petersburg-Vyborg railroad. It is located about northwest of central Saint Petersburg...

 was frequented by such poets as Yevgeny Rein
Yevgeny Rein
Yevgeny Borisovich Rein is a Russian poet and writer. His poetry won the State Prize of Russia , Pushkin Prize of Russia, and Tsarskoe Selo Art Prize ....

 and Joseph Brodsky
Joseph Brodsky
Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky , was a Russian poet and essayist.In 1964, 23-year-old Brodsky was arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism" He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters...

, whom she mentored. Brodsky, arrested in 1963 and interned for social parasitism
Social parasitism
Social parasitism may refer to the following*Parasitism , an offense in human society.*Social parasitism, a kind of parasitism in biology....

, would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 (1987) and become Poet Laureate (1991) as an exile in the US. As one of the last remaining major poets of the Silver Age, she was newly acclaimed by the Soviet authorities as a fine and loyal representative of their country and permitted to travel. At the same time, by virtue of works such as Requiem, Akhmatova was being hailed at home and abroad as an unofficial leader of the dissident movement, and reinforcing this image herself. She was becoming representative of both Russias, more popular in the 1960s than she had ever been before the revolution, this reputation only continuing to grow after her death. For her 75th birthday in 1964, new collections of her verse were published.Harrison, Salisbury (1965) Britannica Book of the Year 1965. Encyclopaedia Britannica, p502

Akhmatova was able to meet some of her pre-revolutionary acquaintances in 1965, when she was allowed to travel to Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, in order to receive the Taormina
Taormina
Taormina is a comune and small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina, about midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina has been a very popular tourist destination since the 19th century...

 prize and an honorary doctoral degree from Oxford University, accompanied by her life-long friend and secretary Lydia Chukovskaya
Lydia Chukovskaya
Lydia Korneievna Chukovskaya was a Soviet writer and poet. Her deeply personal writings reflect the human cost of Soviet totalitarianism, and she devoted much of her career to defending dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov...

. Akhmatova's Requiem in Russian finally appeared in book form in Munich in 1963, the whole work not published within USSR until 1987. Her long poem The Way of All the Earth or Woman of Kitezh (Kitezhanka) was published in complete form in 1965.Martin (2007) p12Harrington (2006) p20

In November 1965, soon after her Oxford visit, Akhmatova suffered a heart attack and was hospitalised. She was moved to a sanatorium in Moscow in the spring of 1966 and died of heart failure on March 5, at the age of 76. Thousands attended the two memorial ceremonies which were held in Moscow and in Leningrad. After being displayed in an open coffin, she was interred at Komarovo
Komarovo
Komarovo may refer to:*Komarovo, Saint Petersburg, a municipal settlement under jurisdiction of Saint Petersburg, Russia*Komarovo, Novgorod Oblast, a former urban-type settlement in Novgorod Oblast; since 1998—a village...

 Cemetery in St Petersburg.

Isaiah Berlin
Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin OM, FBA was a British social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas of Russian-Jewish origin, regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century and a dominant liberal scholar of his generation...

 described the impact of her life, as he saw it:

The widespread worship of her memory in Soviet Union today, both as an artist and as an unsurrendering human being, has, so far as I know, no parallel. The legend of her life and unyielding passive resistance to what she regarded as unworthy of her country and herself, transformed her into a figure [...] not merely in Russian literature, but in Russian history in [the Twentieth] century.Martin (2007) p13


In 1988, to celebrate what would have been Akhmatova's 100th birthday, the University of Harvard held an international conference on her life and work. Today her work may be explored at the Anna Akhmatova Literary and Memorial Museum
Anna Akhmatova Literary and Memorial Museum
The Anna Akhmatova Literary and Memorial Museum is a literary museum in St Petersburg, Russia.It is located at 34 Fontanka River Embankment, and was opened in 1989 in Fountain House as a branch of the Dostoevsky Literary and Memorial Museum....

 in St Petersburg.

Work and themes

Akhmatova joined the Acmeist group of poets in 1910 with poets such as Osip Mandelstam
Osip Mandelstam
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist who lived in Russia during and after its revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school of poets...

 and Sergey Gorodetsky, working in response to the Symbolist
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 school, concurrent with the growth of Imagism
Imagism
Imagism was a movement in early 20th-century Anglo-American poetry that favored precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. The Imagists rejected the sentiment and discursiveness typical of much Romantic and Victorian poetry. This was in contrast to their contemporaries, the Georgian poets,...

 in Europe and America. It promoted the use craft and rigorous poetic form over mysticism or spiritual in-roads to composition, favouring the concrete over the ephemeral. Akhmatova modelled its principles of writing with clarity, simplicity, and disciplined form."Akhmatova, Anna" Who's Who in the Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press, 1999 Her first collections Evening ( 1912 ) and Rosary ( 1914 ) received wide critical acclaim and made her famous from the start of her career. They contained brief, psychologically taut pieces, acclaimed for their classical diction, telling details, and the skilful use of colour. Evening and her next four books were mostly lyric
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 miniatures on the theme of love, shot through with sadness. Her early poems usually picture a man and a woman involved in the most poignant, ambiguous moment of their relationship, much imitated and later parodied by Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was a multilingual Russian novelist and short story writer. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist...

 and others. Critic Roberta Reeder notes that the early poems always attracted large numbers of admirers: "For Akhmatova was
able to capture and convey the vast range of evolving emotions experienced in a love affair, from the first thrill of meeting, to a deepening love contending with hatred,
and eventually to violent destructive passion or total indifference. But [...] her poetry marks a radical break with the erudite, ornate style and the
mystical representation of love so typical of poets like Alexander Blok
Alexander Blok
Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was a Russian lyrical poet.-Life and career:Blok was born in Saint Petersburg, into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were literary men, his father being a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather the rector of Saint Petersburg...

 and Andrey Bely. Her lyrics are composed of short fragments of simple speech that do not form a logical coherent pattern. Instead, they reflect the way we actually think, the links between the images are emotional, and simple everyday objects are charged with psychological associations. Like Alexander Pushkin, who was her model in many ways, Akhmatova was intent on conveying worlds of meaning through precise details." Reeder, Roberta Anna Akhmatova: The Stalin Years Journal article by Roberta Reeder; New England Review, Vol. 18, 1997

She often complained that the critics "walled her in" to their perception of her work in the early years of romantic passion, despite major changes of theme in the later years of The Terror. This was mainly due to the secret nature of her work after the public and critical effusion over her first volumes. The risks during the purges were very great. Many of her close friends and family were exiled, imprisoned or shot; her son was under constant thread of arrest, she was often under close surveillance. Following artistic repression and public condemnation by the state in the 1920s, many within literary and public circles, at home and abroad, thought she had died. Her readership generally didn't know her later opus, the railing passion of Requiem or Poem without a Hero and her other scathing works, which were shared only with a very trusted few or circulated in secret by word of mouth (samizdat
Samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

).

Between 1935 and 1940 Akhmatova composed, worked and reworked the long poem Requiem in secret, a lyrical cycle of lamentation and witness, depicting the suffering of the common people under Soviet terror. She carried it with her as she worked and lived in towns and cities across the Soviet Union. It was conspicuously absent from her collected works, given its explicit condemnation of the purges. The work in Russian finally appeared in book form in Munich in 1963, the whole work not published within USSR until 1987. It consists of ten numbered poems that examine a series of emotional states, exploring suffering, despair, devotion, rather than a clear narrative. Biblical themes such as Christ's crucifixion and the devastation of Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdelene, reflect the ravaging of Russia, particularly witnessing the harrowing of women in the 1930s. It represented, to some degree, a rejection of her own earlier romantic work as she took on the public role as chronicler of the Terror. This is a role she holds to this day.

Her essays on Pushkin and Poem Without a Hero, her longest work, were only published after her death. This long poem, composed between 1940 and 1965, is often critically regarded as her best work and also one of the finest poems of the twentieth century. It offers a complex analysis of the times she lived though and her relationship with them, including her significant meeting with Isaiah Berlin (1909–97) in 1945. Her talent in composition and translation is evidenced in her fine translations of the works of poets writing in French, English, Italian, Armenian, and Korean.

Honours

  • 1964 Etna-Taormina prize
  • 1965 honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1965.

Published by Akhmatova

  • 1912 Vecher/Вечер (Evening) . 1912: Vecher (Evening) 46 poems, 92 pages. 300 copies. Published by the Poets Guild. See Martin (2007) p4.
  • 1914 Chetki (Rosary or literally Beads) 1914: Chetki (Rosary or literally Beads) 52 poems, 120 pages, published by Hyperborea. See Martin (2007) p4 and Wells (1996) p6
  • 1917 Belaya Staya (White flock)1917: Belaya Staya (White flock) 2000 copies, 142 pages, published by Hyperborea. See Martin (2007) p5
  • 1921 Podorozhnik (Wayside grass / Plantain). 60 pages, 1000 copies published. 1921 Podorozhnik (Wayside grass / Plantain). 60 pages, 1000 copies published. Half the poems are about to or about her husband Shileiko. See Martin (2007) p6
  • 1921 Anno Domini MCMXXI Anno Domini MCMXXI 102 pages, 2000 copies published. Her last volume of new work. See Martin (2007) p6
  • Reed - 2 Volume Selected Poems (1924–1926) was compiled but never published.
  • Uneven - compiled but never published.
  • 1940 From Six Books (Publication suspended shortly after release, copies pulped). 1940 From Six Books 327 pages. 10,000 copies intended but publication was suspended shortly after release and copies pulped and remaining issues banned. See Martin (2007) p9
  • 1943 Izbrannoe Stikhi (Selections of poetry) Tashkent, government edited. 1943 Izbrannoe Stikhi (“Selections of poetry”) Tashkent, government issued and edited. 114 pages, 10,000 copies. See Martin (2007) p10
  • Iva not separately published
  • Sed’maya kniga (Seventh book) - not separately published;
  • 1958 Stikhotvoreniya (Poems) (25,000 copies)
  • 1961 Stikhotvoreniya 1909-1960 (Poems: 1909-1960)
  • 1965 Beg vremeni (The flight of time Collected works 1909-1965) 1965 Beg vremeni (The flight of time) - (Collected works 1909-1965) 50,000 copies, 471-pages. The collection draws from seven of her books including the unpublished volumes Iva and Sed’maya kniga (Seventh book) See Martin (2007) p12-13

Later editions

  • 1967 Poems of Akhmatova. Ed. and Trans. Stanley Kunitz, Boston
  • 1976 Anna Akhmatova Selected Poems. D.M. Thomas Penguin Books
  • 1985 Twenty Poems of Anna Akhmatova - Trans. Jane Kenyon; Eighties Press and Ally Press ISBN 0915408309
  • 1988 Selected Poems Trans. Richard McKane; Bloodaxe Books Ltd; ISBN 1852240636
  • 2000 The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova Trans. Judith Hemschemeyer .Ed. Roberta Reeder; Zephyr Press; ISBN 0939010275
  • 2004 The Word That Causes Death's Defeat: Poems of Memory (Annals of Communism). Trans. Nancy Anderson. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300103778
  • 2006 Selected Poems Trans D. M. Thomas; Penguin Classics; ISBN 0140424644
  • 2009 Selected Poems Trans. Walter Arndt; Overlook TP; ISBN 0882331809

Sources

  • Akhmatova, Anna, Trans. Kunitz, Staney and Hayward, Max (1973) Poems of Akhmatova. Houghton Mifflin
  • Akhmatova, Anna, Trans. Kunitz, Staney and Hayward, Max (1998) Poems of Akhmatova. Houghton Mifflin ISBN10 0395860032
  • Akhmatova, Anna (1989) Trans. Mayhew and McNaughton. Poem Without a Hero & Selected Poems. Oberlin College Press ISBN 0932440517
  • Akhmatova, Anna 1992) Trans. J. Herschemeyer The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova. Ed. R. Reeder, Boston: Zephyr Press; (2000)
  • Feinstein, Elaine. (2005) Anna of all the Russias: A life of Anna Akhmatova. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, ISBN 0297643096); Alfred A. Knopf, (2006) ISBN 1400040892
  • Harrington, Alexandra (2006) The poetry of Anna Akhmatova: living in different mirrors. Anthem Press ISBN 9781843312222
  • Martin, Eden (2007) Collecting Anna Akhmatova. The Caxtonian Vol. 4 April 2007 Journal of the Caxton Club
    Caxton Club
    The Caxton Club is a private social club and bibliophilic society founded in Chicago in 1895 to promote the book arts and the history of the book...

    . Accessed 2010-05-31
  • Polivanov, Konstantin (1994) Anna Akhmatova and Her Circle, University of Arkansas
    University of Arkansas
    The University of Arkansas is a public, co-educational, land-grant, space-grant, research university. It is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with very high research activity. It is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System and is located in...

     Press.
  • Reeder, Roberta. (1994) Anna Akhmatova: Poet and Prophet. New York: Picador ISBN 0-312-13429-0
  • Reeder, Roberta. (1997) Anna Akhmatova: The Stalin Years Journal article by Roberta Reeder; New England Review, Vol. 18, 1997
  • Wells, David (1996) Anna Akhmatova: Her Poetry Berg Publishers ISBN 978-1859730997

External links

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