Showing posts from March, 2023

Anna Akhmatova: Selected Poems

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE    JUDITH HEMSCHEMEYER  In 1973 I read a few of Anna Akhmatova's poems in translation in the “American Poetry Review” and was so struck by one of them that I decided to learn Russian in order to read them all. Here is the poem, from “White Flock, Akhmatova's third book:  The sky’s dark blue lacquer has dimmed,  And louder the song of the ocarina. It's only a little pipe of clay,  There's no reason for it to complain.  Who told it all my sins,  And why is it absolving me?...  Or is this a voice repeating  Your latest poems to me?  Three years later, when I could read the Russian and compare the existing, "selected Akhmatova" translations with the originals, I became convinced that Akhmatova’s poems should be translated in their entirety, and by a woman poet, and that I was that person. Using literals provided by Ann Wilkinson for the first 300 poems and by Natasha Gurfinkel and Roberta Reeder for the rest, I translated the poems