Poem without a Hero and Selected Poems

Poem without a Hero and Selected Poems

Poem without a Hero and Selected Poems

Poem without a Hero and Selected Poems

Synopsis

Akhmatova was unquestionably one of the great poets of the 20th century. These exquisite translations convey the subtle beauties and daring associations of a poet whose long life proved poetry's capacity for survival and subversive resistance to tyranny.

Excerpt

When we began our work on Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), having been given a tiny paperback edition of Requiem picked up by a friend in the Latin Quarter of Paris, very few people -- outside of specialists in Russian literature -- knew who she was. Happily, that situation has now changed. One could say now of this great Russian poet, as Niccolò Macchiavelli's sarcophagus proclaims in the Duomo in Florence: TANTO NOMINE, NULLAM PAR ELOGIAM -- (loosely) "with a name like that, who needs a eulogy?" In 1989 Anna Akhmatova needs no introduction.

We no longer have to plead a case for her as one of the greats of modern world poetry, or of all Russian poetry. Yes, in 1964 the Union of European Writers did award her the Etna-Taormina International Prize for Poetry; and yes, Oxford University in 1965 did give her a doctor's degree honoris causa. But since then she has, through her poetry, "convinced by her presence" -- as Whitman says -- and we shall limit ourselves in this introduction to the effort to get her career as a poet in focus (though our selection of her poetry must, in the main, do that); to give a sketch of her life; and to take a look at the relation of the life to the work. And she is important, we believe, not . . .

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