Cover image for The complete poems of Anna Akhmatova
The complete poems of Anna Akhmatova
Akhmatova, Anna Andreevna, 1889-1966.
Uniform Title:
Poems. English & Russian
Publication Information:
Somerville, Mass., U.S.A. : Zephyr Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
2 volumes : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Translation from the Russian.

Title on added t.p.: Polnoe sobranie stikhotvoreniÄ­.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PG3476.A324 A17 1990 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PG3476.A324 A17 1990 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The definitve collection of Anna Akhmatova in English translation.

Author Notes

Anna Akhmatova, 1889 - 1966 Poet Anna Akhmatova was born in 1889 in Bolshoy Fontan near Odessa, Ukraine and was the daughter of a naval engineer. She attended a girls' gymnasium in Tsarskoe Selo, Smolnyi Institute in St. Petersburg, Fundukleevskaia gymnasium (1906), law school (1907), and then moved to St. Petersburg to study literature. When she was 21, she became a member of the Acmeist group of poets, led by Nikolai Gumilev, who she married in 1910 and had one son with, Lev Gumilev. They were divorced in 1918 and that same year she married Vladimir Shileiko. This marriage also failed and she was later married to Nikolai Punin until his death in 1958. Her first husband was executed in 1921 for antirevolutionary activities; afterwards, she entered a period of almost complete poetic silence that lasted until 1940.

Akhmatova's first collection of poetry was "Vecher" ("Evening"), which appeared in 1912. Two years later, she gained fame with "Chyotki" ("Rosary" 1914). Her next collections were "Belaya Staya" ("The White Flock" 1917), "Podorozhnik" ("Plantain" 1921) and "Anno Domini MCMXXI (1922). For a brief time during World War II in 1940, several of her poems were published in the literary monthly Zvezda. In 1942, her poem "Courage" appeared on a front page of Pravda.

In 1941, following the German invasion, Akhmatova delivered an inspiring radio address to the women of Leningrad. She was evacuated to Tashkent where she read her poems to hospitalized soldiers. In an effort to gain freedom for her son who had been exiled to Siberia, Akhmatova's poems eulogizing Stalin appeared in several issues of the weekly magazine Ogonyok. "Poema Bez Geroya" (Poem Without a Hero, 1963) was begun in Leningrad in 1940 and was revised for over 20 years. It is divided into three parts and has no consistent plot or conventional hero. This poem wasn't published in the Soviet Union until 1976. "Rekviem" (Requiem, 1963) is a poem-cycle that was a literary monument to the victims of Stalin's Terror. The earliest poems were dated 1935 and the remainders were written from 1938-40. Requiem is ten short, numbered poems that deal with her personal experiences following the arrests of her husband, friends and son. The last poem reflects the grief of others who suffered loss during that time of terror.

Akhmatova was awarded the Etna-Taormina Price, an international poetry prize awarded in Italy in 1964, and received an honorary doctoral degree from Oxford University in 1965. Anna Akhmatova died in 1966.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

This comprehensive English-only edition of the great Russian poet's works has been expanded to include 80 newly discovered poems. Illustrated. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These two fat volumes, a 100th-anniversary tribute to the great Russian poet Akhmatova (1889-1966), are clearly a labor of love. Editor Reeder's book-length introduction is a meticulous, well-documented account of the poet's life and poetry through the ebullience of modernist Petersburg, the grim deprivation of two world wars and the 1917 revolutions, the poverty and repression (including the repeated imprisonment of her son) of the interwar years and the vicious official attacks after World War II, and the last years of international honors. This life has made Akhmatova emblematic both of the unbowed intelligentsia and of the unsung heroism of millions of Russian women. The second volume begins with two impressionistic essays by Akhmatova's disciple, the Soviet poet Anatoly Naiman, and distinguished expatriate writer Sir Isaiah Berlin's account of his two meetings with her (Leningrad, 1945, and Oxford, 1965). The edition is lavishly illustrated with the known iconography of Akhmatova herself, her contemporaries, and the Petersburg-Leningrad settings that were her spiritual home. These rich secondary materials make a worthy frame for Akhmatova's glorious poetry, pre sented side by side in Russian and English and arranged, in exemplary fashion, with respect for choices the poet made in lifetime editions. American poet Hemschemeyer devoted well over ten years to the translations, learning Russian for that purpose; her equally exem plary translator's preface explains her working methods and the inevitable compromises involved in the valiant ef fort to create English equivalents for Akhmatova's spare and musical verse. This book will be a treasure for poetry lovers everywhere.-- Mary F. Zirin, Altadena, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) was, along with Pasternak, Mandelstam, and Tsvetaeva, one of the great figures of 20th-century Russian poetry. The 1990 publication of the original two-volume edition of this work with its facing English and Russian texts, was widely and deservedly praised, especially for poet Judith Hemschemeyer's renderings of Akhmatova's verse (CH, Jul'90). This new one-volume edition contains only the English texts, but includes 80-odd previously unavailable poems. Aimed at a wider audience, this new version dispenses with the earlier edition's book-length scholarly essay on the biographical context of Akhmatova's art, while offering a still richer assemblage of photographs, paintings, and other images of the poet. Retained are the personal essays of Akhmatova's friends, the Oxford don Isaiah Berlin and the Russian poet Anatoly Naiman. The poems are annotated and accompanied by a first-line index, a name index, a brief bibliography, and a chronology of Akhmatova's life. This volume is a splendid example of the bookmaker's art and a worthy tribute to its subject. A must for all libraries with poetry holdings. D. B. Johnson; University of California, Santa Barbara