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1922 portrait of Anna Akhmatova1922 portrait of Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhamatova

Anna Akhamatova (1889–1966) was a Russian poet. She is known especially for her love poems and Requiem, a collection of poetry that describes suffering under Stalin in Soviet-era Russia. Akhamatova made her name with the passionate love poems of her first collection, Evening (1912). During the 1920s, she and many other Russian poets were persecuted by Stalin for being “anti-revolutionary” and her work was banned. In the late 1930s, as Stalin’s regime of terror grew and her husband and son were imprisoned, Akhamatova began composing her most famous work Requiem. It was a sequence of poems in memory of people who had suffered and died under Stalin’s regime.

Akhamatova wrote nothing down. She and her friends memorized everything she had written so it would not be discovered and confiscated. In this way, her poetry was passed on to fellow Russians, and became a source of courage to them. In 1960 her collected poems were published in the Soviet Union and she quickly became known as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.

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