56 Facts About Anna Akhmatova


Anna Akhmatova was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in 1965 and received second-most nominations for the award the following year.


Anna Akhmatova's style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries.


Anna Akhmatova's work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities, and she is notable for choosing not to emigrate and remaining in the Soviet Union, acting as witness to the events around her.


Primary sources of information about Anna Akhmatova's life are relatively scant, as war, revolution and the Soviet regime caused much of the written record to be destroyed.


Anna Akhmatova was born at Bolshoy Fontan, a resort suburb of the Black Sea port of Odessa.


Anna Akhmatova's father, Andrey Antonovich Gorenko, was a naval engineer and descendant from a noble Ukrainian cossack family, and her mother, Inna Erazmovna Stogova, was a descendant from the Russian nobility with close ties to Kiev.


Yegor Motovilov was my great-grandfather; his daughter, Anna Akhmatova Yegorovna, was my grandmother.


Anna Akhmatova died when my mother was nine years old, and I was named in her honour.


Anna Akhmatova's family moved north to Tsarskoye Selo, near St Petersburg, when she was eleven months old.


Anna Akhmatova studied at the Mariinskaya High School, moving to Kiev and finished her schooling there, after her parents separated in 1905.


Anna Akhmatova went on to study law at Kiev University, leaving a year later to study literature in St Petersburg.


Anna Akhmatova started writing poetry at the age of 11, and was published in her late teens, inspired by the poets Nikolay Nekrasov, Jean Racine, Alexander Pushkin, Evgeny Baratynsky and the Symbolists; however, none of her juvenilia survives.


Anna Akhmatova's father did not want to see any verses printed under his "respectable" name, so she chose to adopt her grandmother's distinctly Tatar surname 'Anna Akhmatova' as a pen name.


Anna Akhmatova met a young poet, Nikolay Gumilev, on Christmas Eve 1903.


Anna Akhmatova wrote that he had "lost his passion" for her and by the end of that year he left on a six-month trip to Africa.


Anna Akhmatova had "her first taste of fame", becoming renowned, not so much for her beauty, but for her intense magnetism and allure, attracting the fascinated attention of a great many men, including the great and the good.


Anna Akhmatova returned to visit Modigliani in Paris, where he created at least 20 paintings of her, including several nudes.


Anna Akhmatova later began an affair with the celebrated Acmeist poet Osip Mandelstam, whose wife, Nadezhda, declared later, in her autobiography that she came to forgive Akhmatova for it in time.


Anna Akhmatova's son, Lev, was born in 1912, and would become a renowned Neo-Eurasianist historian.


Thousands of women composed poems "in honour of Anna Akhmatova", mimicking her style and prompting Anna Akhmatova to exclaim: "I taught our women how to speak, but don't know how to make them silent".


Anna Akhmatova became close friends with Boris Pasternak and rumours began to circulate that she was having an affair with influential lyrical poet Alexander Blok.


Anna Akhmatova had a relationship with the mosaic artist and poet Boris Anrep; many of her poems in the period are about him and he in turn created mosaics in which she is featured.


Anna Akhmatova selected poems for her third collection, Belaya Staya, in 1917, a volume which poet and critic Joseph Brodsky later described as writing of personal lyricism tinged with the "note of controlled terror".


Anna Akhmatova later came to be memorialised by his description of her as "the keening muse".


Anna Akhmatova's friends died around her and others left in droves for safer havens in Europe and America, including Anrep, who escaped to England.


Anna Akhmatova had the option to leave, and considered it for a time, but chose to stay and was proud of her decision to remain.


Anna Akhmatova sentenced dozens of the named persons to death, including Gumilev.


From a new Marxist perspective, Anna Akhmatova's poetry was deemed to represent an introspective "bourgeois aesthetic", reflecting only trivial "female" preoccupations, not in keeping with these new revolutionary politics of the time.


Anna Akhmatova was roundly attacked by the state and by former supporters and friends, and seen to be an anachronism.


Anna Akhmatova made acclaimed translations of works by Victor Hugo, Rabindranath Tagore, and Giacomo Leopardi and pursued academic work on Pushkin and Dostoyevsky.


Anna Akhmatova worked as a critic and essayist, though many USSR and foreign critics and readers concluded that she had died.


Anna Akhmatova had little food and almost no money; her son was denied access to study at academic institutions because of his parents' alleged anti-state activities.


Anna Akhmatova narrowly escaped arrest, though her son Lev was imprisoned on numerous occasions by the Stalinist regime, accused of counterrevolutionary activity.


Anna Akhmatova wrote that by 1935 every time she went to see someone off at the train station as they went into exile, she'd find herself greeting friends at every step as so many of St Petersburg's intellectual and cultural figures would be leaving on the same train.


Anna Akhmatova was a common-law wife to Nikolai Punin, an art scholar and lifelong friend, whom she stayed with until 1935.


Anna Akhmatova was repeatedly taken into custody, dying in the Gulag in 1953.


Anna Akhmatova tells how Akhmatova would write out her poem for a visitor on a scrap of paper to be read in a moment, then burnt in her stove.


Anna Akhmatova was evacuated to Chistopol in spring of 1942 and then to greener, safer Tashkent in Uzbekistan, along with other artists, such as Shostakovich.


Anna Akhmatova regularly read to soldiers in the military hospitals and on the front line; her later pieces seem to be the voice of those who had struggled and the many she had outlived.


Anna Akhmatova moved away from romantic themes towards a more diverse, complex and philosophical body of work and some of her more patriotic poems found their way to the front pages of Pravda.


Anna Akhmatova banned her poems from publication in the journals Zvezda and Leningrad, accusing her of poisoning the minds of Soviet youth.


Anna Akhmatova's surveillance was increased and she was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers.


Anna Akhmatova was immensely dignified, with unhurried gestures, a noble head, beautiful, somewhat severe features, and an expression of immense sadness.


Anna Akhmatova worked on her official memoirs, planned novels, and worked on her epic Poem without a hero, 20 years in the writing.


Anna Akhmatova was widely honoured in the USSR and the West.


Anna Akhmatova inspired and advised a large circle of key young Soviet writers.


Anna Akhmatova was becoming a representative of both the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia, more popular in the 1960s than she had ever been before the revolution, this reputation only continuing to grow after her death.


Anna Akhmatova was able to meet some of her pre-revolutionary acquaintances in 1965, when she was allowed to travel to Sicily and England, in order to receive the Taormina prize and an honorary doctoral degree from Oxford University, accompanied by her lifelong friend and secretary Lydia Chukovskaya.


In November 1965, soon after her Oxford visit, Anna Akhmatova suffered a heart attack and was hospitalised.


Anna Akhmatova was moved to a sanatorium in Moscow in the spring of 1966 and died of heart failure on March 5, at the age of 76.


Anna Akhmatova joined the Acmeist group of poets in 1910 with poets such as Osip Mandelstam and Sergey Gorodetsky, working in response to the Symbolist school, concurrent with the growth of Imagism in Europe and America.


Anna Akhmatova modeled its principles of writing with clarity, simplicity, and disciplined form.


Anna Akhmatova's lyrics are composed of short fragments of simple speech that do not form a logical coherent pattern.


Anna Akhmatova often complained that the critics "walled her in" to their perception of her work in the early years of romantic passion, despite major changes of theme in the later years of The Terror.


Between 1935 and 1940 Anna Akhmatova composed, worked and reworked the long poem Requiem in secret, a lyrical cycle of lamentation and witness, depicting the suffering of the common people under Soviet terror.


Anna Akhmatova carried it with her as she worked and lived in towns and cities across the Soviet Union.