The adjective velichavaya stately, majestic, regal functions as a code word for Akhmatova. The aquiline nose, her dark hair with the short bangs in front and held in place in back with a large Spanish comb.
The small, slender mouth that seldom laughed. Dark, stern eyes. Like clouds, they throw light and heavy shadows on the face, and in them, so many losses. They are like the key to a piece of music; the key is set, and you hear the speech of the eyes, the mourning hair, the black rosary on the combs. After the breakup with Shileiko another three-year marriage in , Anna moved in with two Petersburg friends, the composer Artur Lurye or Lourie and the actress Olga Glebova-Sudeikina, a famous beauty.
Her fame having peaked around , Anna was due for a reaction. Blok died after a painful illness, and Gumilyov was executed for his alleged counterrevolutionary activities, both in Attacks on her multiplied, and there was a ban on publishing her. Lurye and Sudeikina emigrated to Paris and, like other friends, urged Anna to follow suit.
She refused and, in one of her finest poems, explained why. Instead, she moved back in with Shileiko, from whom she was divorced, but who traveled much, and whose St. Bernard needed looking after.
Akhmatova, Anna: General Commentary | narhouhatchrucon.cf
While convalescing in a pension in Tsarskoye Selo, she met again Nadezhda Mandelshtam, ten years her junior, with whom she was to be linked in lifelong friendship. She also met Nikolay Punin, the critic and historian, who was to become her third husband, though the marriage was never officially registered.
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This despite that a previous Punin wife and, later, a subsequent one inhabited the same house. And as with Shileiko, Anna became an amanuensis to Punin, helping him with translations and lectures. Arrogant and promiscuous, he treated her worse; yet when asked later on which husband she loved most, she implied that it was Punin. Lyov was to be in and out of prison for much of his life; Mandelshtam, re-arrested, died in the gulag in , as Punin did later on.
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There is something very unsatisfying about having to read these journals on the installment plan. Finally, however, he proposed marriage. Anna not only accepted but even agreed to his request to drop her own proud name and become merely Garshina. She named the old Punin apartment. We never saw each other again.
But this was simply incomprehensible. When a new figure appears, a footnote directs you to an endnote. But confusion thrives in other ways, too. The dramatis personae appear in three guises: with their full names, i. So when on a given page a Nikolay Ivanovich i.
When we next hear the nickname Kolya, it might take even a Russian reader a while to figure out which Nikolay is meant. Of course, it turns out to be yet another: Kolya Demidenko. Still, one should not be put off. I would read the poems and, having memorized them, would hand them back, to her in silence. But already from the outset of the book, in its English translation, we see sloppiness creeping in.
Thus the code name the women used for the secret police is given on one page as Pyotr Ivanich; on the next, as Pyotr Ivanovich. Could she have read that difficult work two more times in seventeen months? Was she given to exaggeration? Did her mind wander?
She walked lightly, this fifty-year-old woman who was often trailed by two secret policemen and who always carried her pocketbook and a shabby suitcase with her writings with her out of fear they might be secretly searched. But she was terrified of crossing wide streets, even when empty, and would cling anxiously to whoever accompanied her. Anna herself preferred established languages, reading Dante in Italian and, after six months of mostly self-taught English, Shakespeare in the original.
But for all the various languages she knew, Russian spelling and punctuation was beyond her; she even misspelled the name of her beloved Annensky, the only poet she admitted to being influenced by. Anna thought poorly of men because there were few to be seen in the prison queues, and perhaps also because none of her husbands ever hung a picture of her over the table.
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She was unable to judge her own poems until they were old, which is why she avidly recited the new ones to friends, eager for their judgment as well as memorization. It is piquant to discover Akhmatova admitting to not understanding one of her own poems. She repeatedly declared that she wrote two kinds of poems: those that seemed to come from an external dictation and were easy to write, and those that she willed herself to write and were impossible.
She considered Hemingway a great writer, although she hated the cruelty of his fishing. Vyacheslav V. She developed her poetic form, keen and original, with a backward glance at psychological prose. Nor could she a pariah in the house of Punin, get a pass to the garden of the House of Entertaining Science! There is perhaps something even beyond the poetry that gets lost in translations from Akhmatova.
Yet there were also times when the Russian language seemed to thwart Akhmatova. Can it be that neither of you, both such lovers of poetry, has noticed this mooing? Think about it, really: for the poet works with the very same words that people use to invite each other to tea…. You can hear Baratynsky and Tyutchev and Pushkin-sometimes, more rarely, Blok — in the movement of the poem, in its rhythms, in the fullness of the line, in the precision of the rhymes.
At first it seems like a narrow path, going alongside the wide road of Russian classical poetry. Mayakovsky is deafeningly novel, but at the same time he is unfruitful, barren: he brought Russian poetry to the edge of an abyss.
Poems by Anna Akhmatova
Frankly, in struggling with her poems in Russian — never mind the translations — I cannot find the earthquakes. But I do see a poet with an original vision and a personal voice who manages to maintain her individual talent within the tradition. No wonder she admired T. Strange where poets come from! Only Nekrasov, a thick, bound volume. My mother used to let me read it on feast days and holidays. This book was a present to Mama from her first husband, who shot himself.
I started to write poetry early but. If Chukovskaya were doing her job right, she would answer some troubling questions here.
Her friends died around her and others left in droves for safer havens in Europe and America, including Anrep, who escaped to England. You are a traitor, and for a green island, Have betrayed, yes, betrayed your native Land, Abandoned all our songs and sacred Icons, And the pine tree over a quiet lake.
A voice came to me. It called out comfortingly. It said, "Come here, Leave your deaf and sinful land, Leave Russia forever, I will wash the blood from your hands, Root out the black shame from your heart, [ At the height of Akhmatova's fame, in , she divorced her husband and that same year, though many of her friends considered it a mistake, Akhmatova married prominent Assyriologist and poet Vladimir Shilejko.
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I thought it would be like a cleansing, like going to a convent, knowing you are going to lose your freedom. In , Akhmatova's former husband Nikolay Gumilev was prosecuted for his alleged role in a monarchist anti- Bolshevik conspiracy and on 25 August was shot along with 61 others. According to the historian Rayfield, the murder of Gumilev was part of the state response to the Kronstadt Rebellion.