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The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  7,177 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Initially published in 1990, when the New York Times Book Review named it one of fourteen "Best Books of the Year," Judith Hemschemeyer's translation of The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova is the definitive edition, and has sold over 13,000 copies, making it one of the most successful poetry titles of recent years.
This reissued and revised printing features a new biograph
Paperback, 948 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Zephyr Press (first published 1965)
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Anastasia The fullest one I can think of is from "Little Library of Masterpieces" (Малая Библиотка Шедевров). I've added it to editions of this book, even thoug…moreThe fullest one I can think of is from "Little Library of Masterpieces" (Малая Библиотка Шедевров). I've added it to editions of this book, even though it might not be very correct.(less)
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Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I never stopped writing poems. In them is my link with time, with the new life of my people. When I wrote them, I believed in the resounding rhythms reflected in the heroic history of my country. I am happy that I lived in these years and saw events which cannot be equalled.

V. 1.0

A drawing of Akhmatova by Amadeo Modigliani, pictured in this book. Akhmatova met Modigliani in Paris in 1910. Though she was recently married, it has been said (by Wiki for example) that the two had a love affair.
E. G.
List of Illustrations
Translator's Acknowledgements
Publisher's Acknowledgements

Translator's Preface, by Judith Hemschemeyer
Mirrors and Masks: The Life and Poetic Works of Anna Akhmatova, by Roberta Reeder
Anna Akhmatova: A Memoir, by Isaiah Berlin
Third Printing (Revised): New Poems and Revisions
Second Edition: New Poems and Revisions
Notes on the Text

Portfolio: Tsarskoye Selo

--Evening (1912)

--"I pray to the sunbeam from the window. . ."

Two Poems:
--1. "Both sides of the pillow.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 choose ...more
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetshere, mother-rus
And I am not at all a prophet
My life is pure as a stream
I simply don’t feel like singing
to the sound of prison keys.

It was the morning of Christmas Eve when I finished this compendium. The quartets of Shostakovich were played. The music was a bit loud perhaps for a morning. I was safe and warm, my wife was here. We enjoyed the time together before she headed to work. I read her the above stanza. I confessed to a friend that I indeed felt haunted while reading this. My entire life Akhmatova has f
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Stunning, personally raw poetry from a pioneer of the "acme" school of Russian poetry. Was introduced to her when an 86 yo Russian emigre handed me a small worn copy of a volume of her works, in both English and Russian after we had begun an impromptu conversation about poetry. Put it in my hands, cupped his hands over mine and said "keep this, learn about her. I have no more need of it." ...more
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A great starting place if you’ve never read Anna Akhmatova would be Poems of Akhmatova, Selected, Translated and Introduced by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward. It’s career spanning but at only 173 pages, including presenting the poems in Russian with facing page English translations, it will convince you of her genius and invest you with an interest for a deeper engagement with her work and life. Then when you are ready, The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova awaits. Published in an expanded editi ...more
Spaka Eon
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love her poems... and I have her book with me since high school. One of the few books that I took with me when I moved overseas.

There is a site with awesome translations to Enlish
made me realize that my own translations of poems loose poetic sense and become pure translations ))
I only gave this 3 stars because I am not thrilled with the translation. Her poetry is brilliant and gets 5 stars - just try to find a better translation.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Terence by: Michael Dirda - Classics for Pleasure
Shelves: poetry
Don't have anything terribly profound to say about Akhmatova. Overall, the collection here merits three stars. I find that I prefer her earlier stuff, pre-Revolution and from the early '20s (before Stalin solidified his control), but there are some very affecting stuff from the period when her son was in a gulag (I'm thinking here, though I can't remember the specific poem, of the image of the women waiting in line to hear news of their husbands, lovers, sons, etc.).

Some of the more memorable ve
Rachel  Hope Landolt
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Since I was required to read one of Akmatova’s works in my World Literature course I found myself enthralled with her poetry. After finding myself searching through book stores for different translations, I fell in love with Judith Hemschemeyer’s most recent translation of her work. Within Akhmatova’s poetry, throughout each and every one of the translations, I see a woman full of emotions and tragedy. Her poems speak volumes as we see the inner workings of her mind while dealing with loss and a ...more
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia, poetry
Wow. This complete book of poems of Akhmatova was a mind-blower. Would have like bilingual, but it would have had to be in two monstrous volumes. Akhmatova was brilliant at the start and got even moreso as her life went on--and is simply a testimony to how a poem can condense an enormous experience into just a few lines. Poem Without a Hero, Northern Elegies and Requiem came late in her writing life, pure tragedy, like a cello, or someone playing a piano in a huge empty hall. The more I read abo ...more
Laura Hartmark
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's a long collection. There's a lot of poems. But you're not in a Soviet gulag or under the surveillance of the KGB. So stop complaining. Relax. You'll get through it. And it's worth it. "Can you write about this? Yes, I can." - Anna Akhmatova ...more
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Her poetry is breathtaking.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Anna Akhmatova's first husband was murdered by Lenin's secret police the Cheka. Her next husband and her son were both sent to the Gulag by Stalin. Most people would have a complete breakdown after enduring such tragedy. Akhmatova, much like fellow poet Paul Celan, turned that unbelievable suffering into some of the greatest poetry of the 20th century. Few have ever captured the suffering of their native people the way Akhmatova did. Her most famous poem and quite possibly my favorite is "Requie ...more
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I inherited this book from my late wife, Keena, who studied Russian. Though I have never studied either the Russian language nor its literature, when I discovered this book among Keena's things I started reading it on the spot, and was immediately taken by it. Akhmatova was truly a great poet. Many thanks to my wife for posthumously introducing me to her work.
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Akhmatova's poetry has a moral compass and integrity that feels almost lost. Whose words, which poet's, today would you memorize in order to preserve?! In a way, the writing of extremity forces us to read in extremity.

A haunting story: Before Mandelstam was taken away by the secret police, Akhmatova offered him an egg (her entire dinner) to eat.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With possibly over 1000 poems, it's hard to say I actually finished this absolute door-stopper of a book, but I certainly read a lot of them! The book also contains lots of B/W photos of Akhmatova's life, the people she knew, the places she lived, which is a nice feature.

Ackhmatova lived thro some of Russia's most historically significant moments (WW1, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Leninist and Stalinist purges, the siege of Leningrad) and her grief, pain, fear and love of people and country du
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Felt sulky and decided to reread her works from start to finish. Cried along with her sad love poems then felt pathetic for having stupid girl problems when we hit Requiem era Akhmatova. This woman :-") ...more
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Okay, I only made it through about half of this, maybe a little more. It's a broswing book I'll learn my way into, I hope. When she's good, it's astonishing, when it's not. . .it's not. I think I expected more knock-my-sox-off work than I actually found, hence the somewhat muted rating. ...more
Lindsey Shumway
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a woman! What a mother! Man, I'm so glad I wasn't born Russian! ...more
J.M. Hushour
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another mammoth undertaking and I'm hardly worthy of reviewing it (is anyone?), but well worth the slog if you can hang with Akhmatova. ...more
April Helms
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This fulfills the challenge for reading a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.There are love poems in this anthology (and I probably should mention here that what I wrote was merely Vol. 1 of the collection), but many poems are Akhmatova's reflections on her growing up during the Russian Revolution, her distaste for Communism and her faith. To call Akhmatova prolific would be indulging in understatement. Her writing is spare; she uses many allegories in her writing but ...more
Akseli Koskela
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excessive package of course and it would take more time to say anything appreciative about the anthology. But the quick (..) reading: Certain era was light-waited alike and sensitive. Other eras need more reading. The translation might not give the impression on certain poems.
Sarah Horrocks
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite poets, one of my favorite books
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: a fanfic that was inspired by the Northern Elegies
Shelves: poetry, cover-missing
I enjoyed these poems. They are melancholy in places (okay, almost all the time), but they are — this is going to sound strange — the kind of melancholy that you can enjoy. When you want to appreciate some high angst because you're not feeling very angsty, this is the place to go. Good poems to read in the winter when you are snug and warm inside.

"Poem Without a Hero" I just enjoyed the word-imagery of. Some of the other epic fragments were very enjoyable, but I preferred the shorter poems, for
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
One of the most powerful and grounded poets i've read.
It is hard not to feel the weight of desperation that so much of this was written under. I carried this around for about 3 months and am relieved to put it down for a while. I'll be back to it though. I don't know if i'll ever exhaust this work.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I keep this on my bedside and read it frequently. Her verses are so beautiful. They are particularly touching when you read the story behind the poem. I'm not a huge poetry reader, but her stuff is wonderful. ...more
Swasti Lavania
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Favourite quote: 'We thought we were beggars, we thought we had nothing at all. But then we started to lose one thing after another, Each day became a memorial day- And then we made songs of great divine generosity & of our former riches.' ...more
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keeping-forever
Some of the most interesting and well written poetry I've read. Definitely the best I've indulged in since school, and became a gateway drug to other Russian and Ukrainian poets. Strong female voice, russian sensibility. Overall, a must read for poets and appreciators. ...more
Leandro Apostol
The sharp triteness and poignant terseness of Akhmatova's poetry is one that requires some getting used to, at first. But once I got through over fifty of them, I could not describe her as anything else but a brutally frank realist that lived through most of the dilemmas evoked in her poetry.
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Also known as: Анна Ахматова, Anna Ahmatova, Anna Achmatowa

Pen name of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, a Russian modernist poet, credited as one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.

Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to universalized, ingeniously structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935-40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her work addresses a variety of theme

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