Saturday, December 04, 2004

Quote of The Day & Anna Akhmatova

Anyone who thinks that ours is an especially dark time should ponder what it meant to live in the Stalinist era, when the deaths of the 1932-­33 forced famine alone ran to at least five million, and when, during the Terror itself, as much as 70 percent of the members of Stalin's inner circle were purged.

--Marjorie Perloff, from an insightful review on a new translation of Anna Akhmatova’s later poetry in Book Forum

Besides this reality check, the review includes a well done brief bio of Akhmatova, and a summary of the unhappy fate several of Russia’s best poets suffered under the Soviets. I'll finish with this from Akhmatova:

No foreign sky protected me,
no stranger’s wing shielded my face.
I stand as witness to the common lot,
survivor of that time, that place.

(from Against Forgetting, ed. By Carolyn Forche, p. 101)


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