Monday, October 28, 2013

A Poet You Should Know - Anna Akhmatova

Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova, was a Russian modernist poet, and is one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.
Why is she not better known to readers outside Russia? Because she was a woman? Because she died during the cold war and we just didn't pay attention? Even today it is difficult to find information online about Akhmatova. Either her work is not typically studied in the west, or the research and papers are not widely published. 
Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem , her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her style, characterized by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. 
(Primarily purloined from The Source of All Things Knowable)

They Didn’t Meet Me
They didn’t meet me, roamed,
On steps with  lanterns bright.
I entered quiet home
In murky, pail moonlight.
Under a lamp’s green halo,
With smile of kept in rage,
My friend said, “Cinderella,
Your voice is very strange…”
A cricket plays its fiddle;
A fire-place grew black.
Oh, someone took my little
White shoe as a keep-sake,
And gave me three carnations,
While casting dawn eyes –.
My sins for accusations,
You couldn’t be disguised.
And heart hates to believe in
The time, that’s close too,
When he will ask for women
To try on my white shoe.
Anna Akhmatova

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