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Branching Out Kansas City: Susan Stewart on Anna Akhmatova
Anna Akhmatova, sometimes called 'the poet who buried Stalin' was a writer who pursued her work under extreme conditions of state oppression. She has come to represent the persistence of poetic conscience in the twentieth century. This lecture will look more closely at Akhmatova's poems, from her early love lyrics to her final masterpiece Poem Without a Hero, and we will listen to some recordings of Akhmatova's beautiful rhythmic recitations of her work. Her career shows us how poets do not merely follow and reflect the temporary conditions of society and culture under which they live, for poets can create permanent values through their labor of memory and imagination. The work of Anna Akhmatova provides some of the most important evidence we have that poetry has the capacity to shape what we are as human beings and what we will be.