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Final Meeting: Selected Poetry Of Anna Akhmatova Paperback – June 30, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrey Kneller is a Russian-born poet/translator. Andrey was 10 years old when his family immigrated from Moscow, Russia to New York in 1993. He grew reading and speaking Russian fluently. At fourteen, he started writing his own poetry and not long after that, he started translating his favorite Russian poets into English. Understanding that Russian poets have been represented rather poorly in the west, the goal of translation for him has always been to keep as much of the original as possible, preserving meaning without losing rhyme and music. At the present, he has published 9 books of translations, including the works of Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Vladimir Mayakovsky, among others, and Discernible Sound, a book of his own poetry. Andrey currently lives with his wife and daughter in Ashland, MA and works as a high school math teacher in Boston.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438234732
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438234731
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By doc peterson VINE VOICE on March 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andrey Kneller, the translator of this collection first came to my attention through his work translating Marina Tsvetaeva My Poems: Selected Poetry Of Marina Tsvetaeva (English and Russian Edition) which I thought was excellent. This, therefore led me to his translations of Akhmatova, of whom I am a tremendous admirer and fan. As anticipated Kneller's translations are outstanding. Naturally some latitude is given the translator (particularly with poetry) - one of the reasons why I purchased this collection (and the Tsvetaeva as well) is because they are dual language, an added bonus. Even expecting (and forgiving) the editorial decisons made, Kneller has truly created masterpieces of his own from Akhmatova's work. For example, "In the evening":

With sadness words cannot describe,
OUt in the garden, music played.
The frozen oysters on the plate
Smelled pungently of sea and brine.

He gently touched my evening dress
And said, "I am a loyal friend!"
And yet, the contact of his hand
Felt nothing like a true caress.

Thus one might pet a cat, a bird,
Or watch a slender circus rider ...
Beneath his golden lashes, hiding
Amusement, happiness and mirth.

And as the smoke diffuses idly,
The doleful fiddles sing above it:
"O, thank the Heavens - finally
First time alone with your beloved."

The original Russian doesn't quite fit, but the sense of space, time and duplicity are brilliantly captured by Kneller. I reluctantly rate it five stars, however, for the selection. Akhmatova'w work spans nearly 5 decades, from the early 20th century through the Khrushchev era.
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Format: Paperback
Disclosure: Mr. Kneller invited me to review his collection of translations.

For several years now I have been a student of the relationship between state-making projects and state-resistant peoples, between totalitarianism and the humanities, between oppression and resistance.

Naturally this means I have also been a student of Russia, her history, her politics, her literature and her language.

Russian is notoriously difficult to translate--the terse, heavy sentences cluster like firs in a boreal forest, yielding their meaning to the outsider only after much practice and study, not only of the language, but of the culture, of idiom, of context.

Mr. Kneller believes that translation should not only convey (as accurately as possible) idiom and meaning, but also the form in which the idiom and meaning were originally conveyed. Accordingly, Mr. Kneller's translations scan appropriately, and rhyme where they should.

I can't help but feel that Akhmatova, herself the undisputed master of Acmeist poetry (concerned with form and rigor and with using words in their most direct and unsettling meaning), would be very pleased with Mr. Kneller's efforts at translation.

Final Meeting assembles, in largely chronological order, Akhmatova's stormiest love poems, many of which are nearly haiku-like "complete fragments" of dark, rich coloration, sonorous and devastating. The work concludes with an excellently translated and annotated [Requiem[/i], considered rightly to be Akhmatova's crowning work and one of the best, most enduring works of Soviet literature.

Reviewing translations is hard work, involving the comparison of several different translated versions of poetry along with the contemplation of the poems as singular works. Mr.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disclosure: I read and am rating this book at the invitation of the translator.

Always love Akhmatova's poetry. I actually read this side by side with two other translations. Not all the same poems in each book, a nice thing about collections is you get a little variety with each.

I will say that Andrey Kneller's translation is far superior to the Penguin book translated by D.M. Thomas. The Mariner book edition translated by Stanley Kunitz, however, was also excellent. It really depended on the poem which I liked better. An interesting afternoon, having three books of poetry side by side and reading three different translations. Andrey, a wonderful job with the epilogue to "Requiem". I had tears in my eyes.

The only negative. I wish there was an introduction by the translator explaining his thought process. I always read this (in prose as well as poetry) and usually find very helpful insights. An idea to consider for future books.
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Anna Akhmatova was a great Russian poet. After her initial success in the 1920's she suffered huge privations during the Terror wrought by Stalin and his cohorts. Anna's son was imprisoned and her position became so dangerous that her poetry had to be memorized by her friends before it was ritually burnt. This collection contains some of her earlier love poetry and as far as I can tell the translation is excellent.
Review written by John Aitken.
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Anna Akhmatova's work is always dark with the truth of life. Her work illuminates the pain that is rampant in life. Hope is fleeting but a necessary belief to survive. Kneller's translation allows her work to breathe majestically. This collection shows scope in subject matter and talent.
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