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My Favorite Poet: Anna Akhmatova

Anna Andreevna Akhmatova (1889-1966). Born in Ukraine, she was and remains one of the most powerful voices to survive the Russian Revolution and Stalin's destructive paranoia. Does anyone else know and love her?

Here are a few of her shorter poems:


A flame burns within her, miraculously,
While you look, her edges crystallize.
She alone will draw near and speak to me
When others are afraid to meet my eyes.

She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave,
Or as if flowers were having their say.


When late at night I wait for her arrival,
It seems my life is hanging by a thread.
I offer youth, my freedom, glory,
To my adored guest with flute in hand.

And here she comes. She throws back her cloak
And pours a steady gaze on me.
I ask, "Did you dictate to Dante
The pages of Inferno?" She answers, "Yes. I did."

You Will Hear Thunder

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

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.

(from Requiem)

No foreign sky protected me,
no stranger's wing shielded my face.
I stand as witness to the common lot,
survivor of that time, that place.

Do you write poetry? We'd love to read it!


Corine Milano's picture

Thank you for introducing me

Thank you for introducing me to this poet, Maria! I've heard the name in various poetry and comparative lit classes, but haven't had the chance to explore her work until now. And thanks for helping to get this group started!

Corine Milano, Assistant Editor

--"We will surely get to our destination if we join hands."
Aung San Suu Kyi --

Julie L's picture

Thanks for starting this discussion.

Thanks for starting this discussion; I love to read and write poetry. I've been meaning to pick up Akhmatova's work; thanks for sharing.

Right now I'm reading The Resurrection Trade by Leslie Adrienne Miller. It's an amazing reflection on women's bodies, mostly guided by her research on early European anatomical studies of women's bodies. There are modern reflections as well, such as on 9/11.

My favorite poets are Alice Fulton and C.D. Wright. I'll post something on them eventually.

KKMelodyCharlene's picture

Thanks for placing this

Thanks for placing this writer on my radar screen, simply magical!

"we have fallen into a place where everything is music" Rumi

-Melody C.

Lovely's picture

Jane Kenyon and Akhmatova

As a translator of Akhmatova, Kenyon was a big fan. A nice introduction to both poet's work is Jane Kenyon's Hundred White includes some translations and Kenyon's essays. Kenyon was a wonderfully creative thinker.

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