A brief review would be - Akhmatova rocks but here are a few of my favorite poems (a few, there are several more I copied): "In closeness, theres a sacred line That love and passion cannot cross, - Let lips in silence merge sublime And hearts explode from passions force. Forgive me that I kept mistaking Too many other men for you." *** "I was born neither early nor late, This only blessed time was fleeting. Ive heard about gods who would endeavor To turn men into objects with a mind, To make these wondrous sorrows last forever.
Death creeps into the usual themes of love, longing and loss. These days I find that I can't be bothered, These days I find that its all too much, To pick up a gun and shoot a stranger, But I've got no choice so here I come - war games. Come out on the hills with the little boy soldiers.
I've been brooding over Akhmatova for months now, ever since I read "You will hear thunder and remember me / And think: she wanted storms." I bought this collection on a whim. I shivered while reading this collection.I only sow. (9)Not being fluent in Russian and not being able to read Cyrillic, I'm sure Andrey Kneller, the translator, did an excellent job. I've never wanted to read a language so badly in my life.
Her poetry bruises you, lightly, and it mendsyou with an equally mild zest. I hope to continue reading this legendary woman; the desolate face of hope in the time of utmost hardship.
Forgive me that I felt forsaken, That grief and angst was all I knew. Forgive me that I kept mistaking Too many other men for you.
(This book was given to me by the translator, Andrey Kneller, in exchange for a review of my thoughts) Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) is intimidating to review. White Flock is one of her early collections, published in 1917 and so tightly focused on themes of love and the Muse that at first glance it feels removed from the enormous tragedy of the First World War. Only on first glance. There is in fact a strong somberness at work here that enjoins you to read between the lines and find evidence of a world gone wrong, while as the collection progresses, references to the war become more regular. 1916 Andrey Kneller is an independent translator and he self-published this bilingual edition of Akhmatova in 2013. Its a little bit hard for me to comment on his role in White Flock without familiarizing myself with earlier translations (I have only read the Kunitz/Hayward selections prior to this) but he clearly cares a great deal for the text and I found it pleasing to read, though not as impressive as her later works. The latter was increasingly intertwined with the former until they resulted in emotional tautology Of course, this means that White Flock intrigues more within her oeuvre than it does standing alone though it is peaceful reading, at times with a somber beauty. Bilingualism is always an appreciated feature where poetry in translation is concerned, so what I most miss in White Flock is a helpful essay (a biographical piece on Akhamatovas early life and marriage, perhaps) but there is a brief and useful note on translation: "Readers should be wary of bad translations as art collectors are wary of forged paintings." That I am so keen for detail on Akhmatovas life is mostly an indication that I need to buy a biography of this woman.
She has been widely translated into many languages, and is one of the best-known Russian poets of 20th century. Nikolay Gumilyov was executed in 1921 for activities considered anti-Soviet; Akhmatova then married a prominent Assyriologist Vladimir Shilejko, and then an art scholar, Nikolay Punin, who died in the Stalinist Gulag camps. Her son spent his youth in Stalinist gulags, and she even resorted to publishing several poems in praise of Stalin to secure his release.