Friday, March 1, 2019

QUOTES part three: Anna Akhmatova, "My Half Century"

Anna Akhmatova was the preeminent Russian poet of the first half of the 20th Century.  She was censored and her works banned from publication, through a party resolution by the Russian government, twice, from 1925-1939 and 1946-1956.  Short-listed for the Novel Prize, she may be the best poet you've never heard of.  
I'm currently reading a selection of her prose, from letters and diaries primarily, in "My Half Century" and wanted to share occasional quotes, here, from that book.  

For me Slepnyovo is like an arch in architecture....  It's small at first, but then gets bigger and bigger.  And finally--complete freedom (if you exit).

Slepnyovo is the village in Russia where Akhmatova lived with her first husband, Nikolai Gumilyov, and their son, Lev.  Having grown up in a small town in Maine, I understand completely what Akhmatova is saying with this quote, and empathize fully with her.  Akhmatova knew, or felt, there was something bigger out there, if she just went out and got it.   And, in exiting Slepnyovo, she discovered complete freedom, though that freedom did come at a price.

It's also fascinating to see how Akhmatova compares Slepnyovo like an arch (small at first) in architecture, especially when one realizes that "arch" is the first, and smaller, part of the word architecture.

For other quotes I've shared from Akhmatova's "My Half Century" see below:


More Quotes


No comments: