Reader's Encyclopedia

Akhmatova, Anna (pen name of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, 1888 - 1966)

Russian poet. An outstanding member of the Acmeist school (see Acmeism ), Akhmatova married the poet Nikolai Gumilyov, in 1910 and divorced him in 1918. Between 1912 and 1923, she published half a dozen volumes of poems, the best of which included Vecher ( Evening, 1912) and Anno Domini (1922). Her poetry, principally intimate and personal love lyrics, is in the Acmeist tradition of clarity and sharpness of imagery. Akhmatova's abstinence from political themes led to an attack on her in 1946 by the Soviet cultural overseer Andrei Zhdanov and to her expulsion from the Soviet Writers ' Union. She had published little since 1923 -- being completely unpublished at all for one seventeen - year stretch -- but after 1958 she began writing again; Poema bez geroya (1960; translated as Poem without a Hero, 1973) and Rekviem (tr Requiem, 1964), the underground anthem of those who suffered under Stalin, are two of her important works from this later period. Although sections of Requiem had been published in the Soviet Union before her death, the entire work was not published in her country until 1987. Near the end of her life she was recognized officially again and reinstated in the Writers' Union.

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