A Taste of Russian poetry: Anna Akhmatova

A Taste of Russian poetry: Anna Akhmatova
11 May 2016

Russian poetry is famous all over the world for its great number of talented writers. Within the best renowned we can find the names of: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoj, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, Anton Chekhov and I could can go on and on. But there is also a woman whose name can be included in this list: Anna Akhmatova.

Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (known as Akhmatova) wrote modern Russian poetry during the twentieth century, in the Stalinist period. Indeed, plenty of her work is influenced by this political situation.

Her style is special by the restraint that she was able to keep in her works and it was a real innovation for that time.

Akhmatova started writing poetry when she was 11 and some of her works were published when she was 17. Her father didn’t want that any of the verses would be printed under her real surname, so she decided to adopt her grandmother last name “Akhmatova” as a pen name. In 1903 she met the young Russian poet, Nikolay Gumilyov, whose desperate courtship of her served as the subject of many of the poems she began writing in 1905. In 1910 they got married but just few years later they divorced. In 1917, in the year of the revolution, many Anna’s friends decided to leave Russia and move to other countries. She had the option to leave, and considered it for a time, but then chose to stay and was proud of her decision to remain. Although her work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities, she decided to remain, acting like a witness of what happened around her. In 1921, Akhmatova published her fourth collection of Russian poetry, Plantain, and the following year she published Anno Domini MCMXXI, after which the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky denounced her. The party determined not to arrest her as long as she did not publish further works.

However, Akhmatova continued writing, despite the authorities’ harassment. And during that period, between 1937-1938, millions of Russians were imprisoned and sent to concentration camps. Over the next two decades other books, Selected Poems, Poems 1909-1945 and Poems 1909-1960 appeared in censored editions.

Anna Akhmatova’s poetry is one of the milestones of the Russian literature and I think it could be really useful to read her works, also in order to practice and improve the knowledge of the language.
Here you will find the complete collection of all her poems. I really suggest everybody to have a look because they are easy-reading but rich and intense. Enjoy!

До скорого!


Elena Bianchini, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz.

Posted by Elena Bianchini

Hi everyone! My name is Elena and I’m a young italian student actually based in Moscow. I just got my graduation in languages and economics. I can speak English, Russian and Spanish. I’m really interested into traveling and exploring new places. So I decided to spend four months in Russia, studying at the Liden & Denz Centre of Moscow, in order to improve my russian and reach a good level of speaking. In future I would like to work in the commercial sector connected with the russian market. Furthermore, I love every aspect of the russian culture and I would like to analyze it deeper. I’m really interested into the history and the traditions of this country. I’m here in Moscow just from one month and I’m already in love with this city!

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