We need more Akhmatova

With some books, you have to be ready.This poet is one of Russia’s best, but it took me this long to sit down and read her. It’s time you did, too. Anna Akhmatova’s Selected Poems in Richard McKane’s English translation were published by Bloodaxe in 1989, 100 years after her birth, and are no longer in print. To close women in translation month, here’s an appeal for them to be reissued 50 years after her death. As she said in Briefly About Myself, “I have never stopped writing poems. For me they are my connection with York, with the new life of my people. In writing them I was living in the rhythms which were to be heard in the heroic history of my country. I am happy that I have lived in these times and seen events, the like of which have never been.”

Here are some snippets from those times, decade by decade.

Akmahtova was already observing emotions with extraordinary intensity in 1909:

1909AkhmatovaPillow

By the October Revolution, she knew what people – including herself – were capable of:

1916Akhmatova

From the 1920s, she still wrote through her religious faith, as a woman:

1922Akhmatova

In the 1930s, she remembered what could not be forgotten or hidden:

In the 1940s, she mourned the destruction of her beloved Petersburg/Leningrad, Pushkin’s Town:

1946AkhmatovaInPushkinsTown

By the 1950s, others knew she would write their stories:

1957Akhmatova

In the 1960s, she was still looking out to the rest of Europe, so near and yet so far:

1964Akhmatova

McKane admits in his afterword that he was tempted to keep these poems to himself, but as Robert Bly said, “we need more Akhmatova.” Yes we do! Reprint please, Bloodaxe!

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in books, faith, history, literature, poetry, translation, Women in Translation Month

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Argentina Barańczak Beowulf Berlin Best Translated Book Award Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Children's Books Children's literature Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Clarice Lispector Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Idioms Illustration India international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin left-handed Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Old English Owen Witesman Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Phoneme Media Pippi Longstocking Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese Queer Roald Dahl Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Ryszard Kapuściński Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Shakespeare Short Stories Slovene Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Suomi100 Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Terhi Ekebom Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Turkey Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: