Anna Akhmatova (23 June, 1889 – 5 March, 1966) is considered to be one 20th Century’s most significant poets. The Russian poet’s masterpiece is Requiem, a tragic poem about the Stalinist terror.
Fun Facts about Anna Akhmatova:
- Anna Andreyevna Gorenko was born in a suburb of Odessa (now Ukraine). Her family could trace its routes, on her father side to Ukrainian nobility, and Russian nobility on her mother’s side. One of her ancestors, Ahmed Khan bin Küchük, is said to be related to Genghis Kahn.
- Ms. Akhmatova is related to Anna Bunina, the first female Russian poet. Bunina was her grandfather’s aunt.
- Before she was a year old, the Gorenko family moved to Tsarskoye Selo, a village near St. Petersburg, where she started writing poetry at age 11. However, she finished high-school in Kiev, and studied law in Kiev University.
- The poet Nikolai Gumilev met Anna Akhmatova on Christmas Eve, 1903. He encourage her to write, published her first poem when she was 17, and proposed to her several times.
- Before she knew it, the young poet welcomed in St. Petersburg’s artistic circles, giving readings. She married Gumilev in 1010, and the couple honeymooned in Paris, where she made acquaintances and returned many times.
- In 1912 Anna Akhmatova’s first book, Evening, was published. The small edition of 500 sold out quickly. Her second collection, The Rosary, was published in 1914 and made her a star. She gave women a voice, and they returned the love by composing poems in her style and in her honor. Decades later Akhmatova would say that it was “a blessed time of her life”.
- In 1918, after several affairs, Anna Akhmatova divorced her husband. In 1921 he was executed for his alleged role in an anti-Bolshevik conspiracy along with 61 others.
- During World War I, the author witnessed the 872-day siege of Leningrad, however there was an unofficial ban on her poetry until 1940 due to her ex-husband’s activities. She busied herself by writing literary criticism and translations.
- When her son, Lev, was arrested and sent to Siberia in 1949, Akhmatova wrote propaganda poems praising Stalin. It didn’t help and Lev was released in 1956. Mrs. Akhmatova asked that her poems will not be included in her collected works.
- The Younger generation viewed her as a link to pre-Revolutionary Russian which Communism has destroyed. Poets like Joseph Brodsky became her mentees even though he work was heavily censored.
Zohar – Man of la Book
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