Day from day and year from year
Your cruel fate
Was destiny of all people.
Your marvelous gift, your wolfishness
Powerlessness would have been different…
The divine uniqueness of the individual <…> was emphasized by her stunning beauty. From one glance at her breath caught. A tall, dark-haired, swarthy, slim and incredibly flexible, with pale green eyes of a snow leopard, she was painted for half a century, painted, sculpted in plaster and marble, photographed… Verses dedicated to her would have made more volumes than everything her works, “Joseph Brodsky, the poet, recalled about Akhmatova, and Anna Andreevna’s appearance and soulfulness were characterized by a special nobility and restraint that
“I was born on June 11, 1889 near Odessa, my father was at that time a retired engineer-mechanic of the fleet, I was transported to the Tsarskoe Selo to the north, where I lived until I was sixteen.
My first memories are Tsarskoye Selo: the green, raw splendor of the parks, the pasture where the nurse was taking me, the racetrack, where the little motley horses were galloping, the old station and something else that later became part of the Tsarskoye Selo Ode, wrote Anna Akhmatova in her autobiography entitled “Briefly about yourself”.
Tsarskoe Selo in Akhmatova’s life meant so much, his influence on Anna’s soul and poetic gift was enormous. European culture, embodied in the park ensemble of the Tsarskoye Selo parks, in its white marble statues and organically connected with Russian classical poetry, has forever entered the work of Anna Akhmatova:
There are so many lyres hung on the branches,
But my, as if, the place is…
Tsarskoe Selo is often called the “gateway” of the Akhmatov art world, which Alexander Pushkin fully owned. Anna Akhmatova had a special perception of Pushkin – not as a poet of the distant past, but as a close person, almost a contemporary living in Tsarskoe Selo:
The swarthy boy wandered along the alleys,
At the lake the sadness of the banks,
And for a century we cherish the
barely audible rustle of steps…
Anna Andreyevna idolized Pushkin. She knew by heart his poetic heritage, close to the text – letters. Later, Akhmatova became the author of deep research on Pushkin. Anino’s childhood was at the end of the nineteenth century, and she was very proud that she happened to catch the edge of the century in which the great poet lived.
Anya and her sisters were ill with tuberculosis, the northern climate was fatal for children’s lungs, so almost every summer the family spent near the Black Sea near Sevastopol. The daughter of the native Sevastopol and the granddaughter of the Black Sea Cossack made friends with the sea at once, loved to swim, and wandered for a long time along its sandy shores. She was known as a cheerful and daring mischievous person, she called herself “a Black Sea girl”. The strongest impression of those years is the ancient Chersonese. Strict Pushkin’s north and wild mysterious south are the two lyrical homelands of Akhmatova. On the seashore, she first appeared Muse. It’s amazing, but here the destinies of two great poets have intertwined: remember, the Black Sea was sung by Pushkin, and Odessa became the place of his exile. It can be said that, for Anna Akhmatova, the south became an inevitable link.
The first poem Anya created when she was eleven years old. Since then, I wrote all my life.
The real name of Akhmatova is Gorenko. Her father, Andrey Antonovich Gorenko, was not interested in poetry, and treated his daughter’s poetic experiences with prejudice, forbidding him to sign his name. So the pseudonym “Anna Akhmatova” appeared. Surname “Akhmatova” Anya took from her grandmother on the maternal line, which believed that her family comes from the legendary Horde Khan Ahmat.
In 1905, Anna’s parents split up, the mother took the sick tuberculosis daughters to Yevpatoria. The last class Akhmatova graduated in Kiev, in Fundukleyevskaya gymnasium. I entered the law faculty of the Higher Women’s Courses. But, quickly cooled to the legal sciences, she continued her education at the Higher Historical and Literary Courses in St. Petersburg.
In 1907, Akhmatova was first published. One of her poems, as you already know, appeared in the journal Sirius, published by Nikolai Gumilev in Paris. After a long and dramatic novel, which lasted from the Tsarskoye Selo grammar school, Akhmatova goes to marry Gumilev. Young people are married in the church of the village of Nikolskaya Sloboda. As a wedding gift, Nikolai Gumilev presented his wife a trip to Paris.
Since 1911, Akhmatova began to regularly publish in Moscow and St. Petersburg publications. Gumilev introduces her to her literary like-minded people, and Anna becomes a member of the poetic union “The Poets’ Works” created by her husband.
The first collection of Akhmatova’s “Evening” brought her unexpected success. Already in the early Ahmadov lyric poetry, a unique voice was clearly heard, the author’s vivid individuality was visible. The unknown poetess boldly entered the circle of her brilliant contemporaries, among whom were Alexander Blok, Valery Bryusov, Andrei Bely, Maximilian Voloshin.
Nikolai Gumilev glorified his wife much more than the birth of their son – Leo. Family relationships did not add up. After the break with Gumilev Akhmatova twice tried to arrange her personal life. In 1919 she married a famous scientist, explorer of Assyria Vladimir Shileiko, but also parted with him. And since 1922, for fifteen years, she associated her fate with art critic Nikolai Punin.
The second collection – “Rosary” – brought the young poetess all-Russian fame and until 1923 was re-issued eight times. One by one, Anna Andreevna’s collections “White Flock”, “Anno Domini”, “Plantain” go out. What were these books about? Of course, about love…
Twenty first. Night. Monday.
Outlines of the capital in the mist.
So did some slacker,
That there is love on earth…
But neither then, nor before, so no one wrote. The most important thing in her poems seemed to be overlooked. The love drama developed in everyday life, with a familiar interior, habitual behavior, but there was an understatement. Thus, in the poem “I squeezed my hands under a dark veil…” The dramatic nature of human relations was condensed and compressed through external actions and gestures:
She squeezed her hands under a dark veil…
“Why are you pale today?”
tapped his drunk with tart grief.”
Her poems resembled an extract from a letter or diary, they were intimate and confessional. And another feature of Akhmatova’s early lyrics was remarkably accurately noticed by the literary critic and poet Nikolai Nedobrovo. He was the first to say that the distinctive feature of her poetry is not weakness and breakdown, but, on the contrary, an exclusive willpower.
The revolution of 1917 brought to Anna Akhmatova deprivation, loss and death of loved ones. Many of her acquaintances emigrated abroad, and the rest – sooner or later joined the list of victims of the Red Terror: Nikolai Gumilev was shot and Alexander Blok died. And yet Anna Andreevna remains at home. In 1917 she wrote a poem “I had a voice…”, in which she rejected the very idea of emigration.
In the mid-1920s, the name of Anna Akhmatova disappears from the pages of literary magazines, the new government does not recognize her “salon poetry” and ceases to print. The 1930s brought arrests, sentences and exile. His friend, the poet Osip Mandelstam, was arrested, and soon Akhmatova’s son Lev Gumilev and husband Nikolai Punin were imprisoned. The tragic image of this time was reflected in the poem “Requiem”.
It seems incredible, but the poetess condemned to civil death writes not just articles, but serious research, moreover, her poems are translated into English and German. In 1939 the name of Anna Akhmatova was briefly returned to the literature. So, in 1940, her collection “Of six books” was published, a poem “Through all the earth” was written, work on the “Poem without a hero” was started.
The Great Patriotic War found Akhmatova in Leningrad. Already in July 1941 she wrote a poem “The Oath,” in which the renunciation of personal is clearly heard. The intimate “I” of Akhmatova passes into the universal “we”:
And the one that says good-bye to the dear today, –
Let it melt your strength into strength.
We swear to the children, we swear to the graves,
Nobody will compel us to submit!
In 1941, she was evacuated to Tashkent. In these years, a series of poems “Wind of War” was created, including the well-known poem “Courage”, which became a symbol of resistance and fearlessness.
In her beloved Leningrad, Akhmatova returned in the summer of 1944, waited for her son from the war and began to write again. During the first post-war year, more than twenty poems appeared, Anna Andreevna performed many and successfully in Moscow, Leningrad. But in 1946 again the misfortunes began. The work of Anna Akhmatova and Mikhail Zoshchenko, published in the central press, was subjected to harsh ideological criticism and was called anti-Soviet. Akhmatov was expelled from the Union of Writers of the USSR, deprived of residence permits, food cards, honoraria. Hard years of silence came. As the son of an anti-Soviet poetess in 1949, Leo Gumilev was arrested. In the years of forced silence, Anna Andreevna translates, explores Pushkin’s life and work, and the architecture of St. Petersburg. Only in 1958, greatly curtailed by censorship,
After Stalin’s death, Akhmatova’s situation improved. She finally got her own place. In the cottage village of Komarovo near Leningrad, she was given a small house, which she loved very much. Despite the health problems, it does not stop working. He translates a lot, writes memoirs about Blok, Mandelshtam, Modigliani, and resumes the “Pushkin’s” breakaway.
In 1963, Anna Akhmatova ends her final work – “Poem Without a Hero”, over which she worked for more than twenty years. International recognition also comes. In 1962, the poetess was nominated for the Nobel Prize, and in 1964 in Italy – was awarded the literary prize “Etna-Taormina”, six months later in London – the mantle of the honorary doctor of Oxford University.
In 1965 the last and most voluminous collection “Time Running” was published. The edition turned out very beautiful – with a portrait of Modigliani’s work on a snow-white dust jacket. In October Anna Andreevna was pleased to sign elegant volumes to her friends, and a month later she had a fourth heart attack. Akhmatova was no longer up. She died on March 5, 1966.
Finishing the story about herself in her autobiography, Akhmatova wrote: “I did not cease writing poetry, for me in them – my connection with time, with the new life of my people.” When I wrote them, I lived the rhythms that sounded in the heroic history of my country I am happy that I lived in those years and I saw events that were not equal. “