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Poems and Quotes: Anna Akhmatova

The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova

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Nathan Altman: portrait of Anna Akhmatova.

She was born Anna Andreevna Gorenko on June 23, 1889, in Bolshoi Fontan, a suburb of Odessa, Ukraine, Russian Empire. Her father, Andrei Antonovich Gorenko, was a Navy Engineer. Her mother, Inna Erazmovna (nee Stogova), belonged to Russian Nobility. From 1890-1905 her father served in St. Petersburg at the Headquarters of the Imperial Trade Fleet and Ports under Grand Prince Aleksander Mikhailovich. The family lived in Tsarskoe Selo, the elite Royal suburb of St. Petersburg. Young Anna Akhmatova received an excellent private education and attended the Tsarskoselky Gymnasium for Ladies. After the divorce of her parents in 1905, she lived in Kiev for 4 years. There she graduated from the Fundukleevsky Gymnazium in 1907, and attended the Law school of Kiev University for 2 years. Back in St. Petersburg she studied at the St. Petersburg Classes for women (Zhenskie Kursy) from 1911-1913.

Russian and Soviet modernist poet Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) coined the term ‘the vegetarian years’ to describe a period when her work was merely suppressed and not published, as opposed to the ‘cannibalism’ of Stalin’s purges, when Soviets, including many fellow poets, were murdered by the millions. It is used colloquially to denote the contrast between Stalinism and what followed.

You Will Hear Thunder by Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova is the literary pseudonym of Anna Andreevna Gorenko. Her first husband was Gumilev, and she too became one of the leading Acmeist poets. Her second book of poems, Beads (1914), brought her fame. Her earlier manner, intimate and colloquial, gradually gave way to a more classical severity, apparent in her volumes The Whte Flock (1917) and Anno Domini MCMXXI (1922). The growing distaste which the personal and religious elements in her poetry aroused in Soviet officialdom forced her thereafter into long periiods of silence; and the poetic masterpieces of her later years, A Poem without a Hero and Requiem, were published abroad.

From "The Heritage of Russian Verse," by Dimitri Obolensky

“My shadow serves as the friend I crave” ― Anna Akhmatova

Roses and Poesy by Anna Akhmatova, author's reading
Photos and editing by Lina Stern
"La Maison" studio /
'iLi-iLi" Positive Emotion Gallery" /
"Eco Art" project /

One of the most powerful poems by Anna Akhmatova, Under A Dark Veil. There is a whole story between two lovers revealing in three quatrains.
Reading by Katherine Brook
Music by Max Richter
/Papaya Stories Production/