Perspectives on poetess Anna Akhmatova, the celebrated Russian poet who bridged Tsarist and Revolutionary Russia, was adored and called "the soul of her time," and who suffered desperately under Stalin's disfavor. Irene Moore, a founder of the American Stanislavsky Theatre, recites Akhmatova's poetry in Russian. Samuel Driver, professor (Brown Univ.), Irene Kirk, professor (Univ. of Connecticut.) who have written about Akhmatova, reminisce about her life and times. Narrated by critic Faubion Bowers. With many photographs of Akhmatova and her world.
Themes: Akhmatova, partly because of her vanity and her sufferings, partly because of the American feelings about the Stalin era, and mainly because her poetry weaves so many purely Russian idioms and contexts together, is usually inaccessible in translation to Americans. The academics here are passionate to change that. Driver is the author of a new book on the poet, and Kirk was one of the last Americans to see her alive and hopes to convey something of her importance to the Russians. Bowers quotes Mandelstam: "Why complain? Poetry is respected here. They kill you for it." Kirk tells of her last meeting with Akhmatova in London, and of Akhmatova's secret book in her library in Moscow where she kept notes of things she wanted to remember. Kirk refers to the tragic deaths of so many poets in Soviet Russia -silence and suicide, and explains the incredible popularity of poetry in Russia.