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Selected Poems (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]

Anna Akhmatova , D. M. Thomas
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Selected Poems (Penguin Classics) Selected Poems (Penguin Classics) 3.7 out of 5 stars (6)
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Book Description

28 May 1992 Penguin Twentieth Century Classics
Brings together all D.M. Thomas' acclaimed translations of Akhmatova's poems. It includes "Requiem", her poem of the Stalinist Terror and "Poem Without a Hero".

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140186174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140186178
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 505,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A genius of Russian poetry" (Sunday Times)

"Once, when young, she had written the lines which lovers quoted to one another. Later she provided words which thousands of men and women repeated under their breath, as they suffered, feared and waited." (Observer)

"The greatest Russian poetess of the twentieth century" (Joseph Brodsky)

"Her fortitude and independence, the breadth of her compassion and the clarity of her realistic vision erased the line between herself and others; her intensely personal lyrics became the void of her nation's tragedy" (New York Times Book Review)

"The extraordinary misery of her life and the extraordinary merits of her poems make Anna Akhmatova one of the great literary figures of modern times" (Economist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A new edition of the selected poems of Russia's greatest twentieth-century poet, published to celebrate her 120th anniversary. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars correction 7 July 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As the translator of the poems in this book, I cannot comment on the quality of translation, but Akhmatova is indeed a great poet. I do wish to correct the 'author's note'. I'm not Dylan Thomas! I'm the author of 'The White Hotel' and many other novels and collections of poetry.

By the way, my Akhmatova translations are now also available in the Everyman Pocket Poets series, with about twenty new translations.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "O My Son, My Terror!" 17 Oct 2008
By demola
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Akhmatova was one of Russia's leading and most celebrated poets. Personally I gelled best with the poems written during Stalin's excesses and the second world war. "I'm not one of those who left their country for wolves to tear it limb from limb" she wrote. She stayed after the revolution and went through the privations and terror like everyone else. Later she lamented that "the souls of those I love are on high stars".

"Requiem" written largely for her son who was imprisoned by Stalin is heartbreaking. "They took you away at daybreak. Half waking as though at a wake, I followed." Later on she cries "O my son, my terror!". She spent 17 months waiting for him outside prison gates. And that's where standing in queues alongside others that she "learned how faces fall apart, How fear looks out from under the eyelids, How deep are the hieroglyphics cut by suffering on people's cheeks".
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a selection of Anna Achmatova's poetry spanning her whole writing career and starting in 1912. Although Russian history looms large in the background of these poems - many of those close to Akhmatova became victims of Stalinist terror - the atmosphere is not exclusively bleak in this collection. It also reveals her development as a poet and the diverse range of subjects she wrote about, from real-life events like the London Blitz in 'To The Londoners' written in 1940, to biblical figures and love poems. Dominating everything are the references to St Petersburg, the city she lived in for most of her life, and which forms the backdrop to what is probably the stand-out poem in this book, 'Poem Without A Hero'. Defining what it's 'about' is not easy - people and events in the city and in Russia over several decades, taking in references to censorship, political persecution and the Russian people, all skillfully woven together, is an approximate definition. How true it is to the original is impossible to say without a knowledge of Russian, but the translation certainly reads well, leaving you in no doubt that Akhmatova really was a great poet. The translator's notes at the back are also informative. This is a comprehensive and likable introduction to someone considered a major twentieth-century poet.
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