The Selected Poems of Anna Akhmatova

The Selected Poems of Anna Akhmatova

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By (author) Anna Akhmatova, Introduction by Jo Shapcott, Translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

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  • Publisher: Canongate Canons
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publication date: 6 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 085786355X
  • ISBN 13: 9780857863553
  • Sales rank: 1,664,046

Product description

'If the droplets of glass That shattered, ringing, long ago, Could be fused again - this is what would be preserved in them now.' Anna Akhmatova, one of the world's great modern poets, gave a voice to the deepest yearnings and struggles of the Russian people through the course of the twentieth century. In the face of censorship and persecution under a Stalinist regime, she wrote publicly and privately about the most intimate longings of young lovers, the artistic passions of St. Petersburg poets and bohemians and the tragedies suffered during war and revolution. At a time when committing poems to paper threatened to cause her arrest, Akhmatova's close friends memorised her lines in order to keep them alive. Frank, powerful and piercingly beautiful, her work reflects the soul of her country and her people like no other.

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Author information

Anna Akhmatova, born 1889, is the pen name for Anna Andreyevna Gorenko. At the age of 21 she founded the Acmeist group of poets with her husband Nikolay Gumilyov. In 1922, Gumilyov was shot for alleged involvement in a Bolshevik plot, and Akhmatova - like many other poets of that time - was persecuted but continued to enjoy popularity. Her greatest poem, 'Requiem', recounts the suffering of the Russian people under Stalin. It took her twenty years to write. She died on 5 March 1966, on the twelfth anniversary of Stalin's death. Jo Shapcott was born in London and is a poet, editor and lecturer. She has won has won the National Poetry Competition, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Forward Poetry prize, the Cholmondeley Award and the Costa Book of the Year. Judith Hemschemeyer began translating Anna Akhmatova's poems in 1976. She has also translated the poems of Alexander Pushkin, Evgeny Rein and Inna Lisnianskaya.

Review quote

We watch Akhmatova's work achieve the supreme goal of lyric poetry: to transfigure loss without belittling it, commemorate love without cooling it, and embody the truth of disparate lives in a single self. Andrew Motion