You Will Hear Thunder

Flowers For Socrates

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), Russian poet and translator, was born on June 23 as Anna Andreyevna Gorenko. Akhmatova was her pen name. She was one of the most acclaimed writers in Russian literature, but her work was suppressed in the Soviet Union for decades, and she was kept under constant surveillance. Her poetry was circulated in secret, often memorized, the only written copy burned, and her words whispered from one memorizer to the next. Many of her poems were lost when the chain was broken, as people fell under the displeasure of the Soviet regime.

“If a gag should bind my tortured mouth,
through which a hundred million people shout,
then let them pray for me, as I do pray
for them . . .”

During her last years, in Leningrad, she continued to work on translations, to research the great Russian poet Pushkin, and to write or reconstruct her own…

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