Anna Akhmatova - Poems

Review :

So much of translated poetry depends on the translator. Translating Akhmatova from Russian must be near impossible; the Russian language is structured so that, more or less, most words can rhyme with all the others by modifying the word endings... you can hear her tendancy for rhymed couplets if you ever listen to some of her poetry being read around in the original Russian. I partially chose Hemschemeyer because I wanted to read all of Akhmatova's poems. But the other part is because she chooses to use traditional poetic forms, though typically the lines do not rhyme in couplet form too often. There is a solemnity and a mystery to Hemschemeyer's translations, which are sparce and small and not too overdone, though I find her translation of "The Grey-eyed King" to be a little flat, compared to some of the ones I've read online. To talk about Akmhatova herself... what do you say about the Russian poet who changed the face of Russian poetry It's so hard to know how to describe her poems when I can't read them in Russian yet. But even in English, her poems have a beauty and a lyricism, striking me with images both beautiful and terrible, that startle me and provoke me. She's my favorite poet, because she's subtle, and soft, painting a picture of a Russia that has vanished, while speaking of the universality of the human condition.


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