Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bella Akhmadulina Dead at 73

The important Russian poet, Bella Akhmadulina, passed away on November 29th at her home outside Moscow. Her husband reported she had suffered fatally from a heart attack. She was 73. From The New York Times:
Ms. Akhmadulina came to prominence during the post-Stalin thaw, when a loosening of censorship led to a flowering of the arts. Along with the poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko (her first husband) and Andrei Voznesensky, she became one of the bold new voices in contemporary Russian literature, attracting ecstatic audiences of thousands to readings at concert halls and stadiums.

Her poetry was resolutely apolitical, making her a target of official criticism. Her early poems, usually in rhymed quatrains, offered random observations on everyday life -- buying soda from a vending machine, coming down with the flu -- in dense, allusive language enriched by coined words and archaisms. A sprightly sense of humor and an audacious way with images marked her from the outset as a distinctive talent.
The Times obituary is here. You can read translations of some of her poems here.

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