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Song of the Final Meeting, Lot's Wife, and Requiem by Akhmatova

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Show Notes

This week, Matt and Cameron dive into the poetry of Anna Akhmatova, reading “Song of the Final Meeting,” “Lot’s Wife” and Requiem. Each of these selections comes out of a very different place in her life, so join us as we examine her development as a writer! Also, the development of a life under Stalinism. That’s the less fun way of putting it.

Major themes: The Great Terror, Translations, The Eyes Have It

03:52 - Fun fact, “uh-dyeh-sa” is a very Russian pronunciation of Odessa. Depending on the crowd you’re in, you may want to stick with simply “oh-de-sa,” the Ukrainian pronunciation, to avoid offending anyone.

09:17 - Actually, I was slightly mistaken here: Tsar Nicholas abdicated and tried to name his brother, Grand Duke Michael, as the succeeding Tsar, though Michael declined the throne. So, yes, it is accurate to describe him as the Last Tsar of the Russian empire.

Follow up: this is why it is very important to double-check things you don’t have a clear source on. A good tenth of the things I learned from professors or tour guides in Russia ended up needing a qualifier the size of the country itself.

12:45 - Her son was slated to be executed, is what I meant.

28:05 - Smiting. Smiting is the Biblical H-Bomb. The many, many teachers I’ve had in various Bible studies classes presumably broke out into sudden tears when I said that.

31:33 - Among many, many other charges, I mean. Also, there were complex party politics involved in the decision to liquidate him, not merely a desire to distance themselves from the purges.

The music used in this episode was “soviet march,” by Toasted Tomatoes. You can find more of their work on Bandcamp and Youtube.