Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) is among the most moving and revered voices in Russian literature. A poet of passion and conscience, she was persecuted after the Revolution and under Stalin, but chose to remain in Russia and bear witness. Her works capture a rich emotional world - poems such as "A Ride" and "By the Seashore" reflect a complex attitude to love or explore the duality of her own nature, while others, such as "Courage" and "In 1940", evoke the horrors of war. And in her two great poem cycles, "Requiem" and "Poem without a Hero", she creates a heart-rending depiction of a mother waiting outside a prison for news of her son and a magical layering of the old, joyous St Petersburg upon a tormented Leningrad.
Anna Akhmatova is the literary pseudonym of Anna Andreevna Gorenko. Her first husband was Gumilev, and she too became one of the leading Acmeist poets. Her second book of poems, Beads (1914), brought her fame. Her earlier manner, intimate and colloquial, gradually gave way to a more classical severity, apparent in her volumes The Whte Flock (1917) and Anno Domini MCMXXI (1922).