Saturday, June 23, 2012

С днем рождения, Анна

Anna Akhmatova (Анна Ахматова) was born today in 1889 in Odesa, Ukraine. That was her pen name; she was born Anna Andreevna Gorenko (Russian: Анна Андреевна Горенко; Ukrainian: Ганна Андріївна Горенко). She wrote under her grandfather's Tatar surname because her father didn't wish her to embarrass him by publishing verse using the family's honorable name...

One of Russia's greatest poets. Once, long years ago (1974 in fact), one of my Russian professors (Russian by birth) was talking about gendered nouns to a first-year class. One of his examples of professions: поэт and поэтесса (poet and poetess). All women were "poetesses", not poets, he said, and something in the way he said it evoked Victorians and their "lady authoresses". So I asked him, Even Akhmatova?

And he said: Аг! Ахматова! Она настоящий поэт! (Ah, Akhmatova! She is a genuine poet!)

Как слепоглухонемая,
Которой остались на свете
Лишь запахи, я вдыхаю
Сырость, прелость, ненастье
И мимолетный дымок...


And as translated by me:

Like one deaf, blind, and mute,
For whom the only things remaining
In the world are scents, I breathe in
Damp, mustiness, rough weather,
And fleeting wisps of smoke...


Find her in Russian and English here. And her page.
And her Requiem in Russian and English.

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At 1:34 PM, June 24, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

поэт and поэтесса -- cf. poeta (m.) & poetisa (f.).


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