Poem Without a Hero

Holly Strickland performs the poem by Anna Akhmatova, translated by D M Thomas, with extra verses translated for this performance. She takes on the spirit of the poet fully, and breathes enthusiastic life into the work.A single figure sits surrounded by well-spaced piles of books. The long poem that Holly Strickland then performs refers to much of the imaginative cultural past of the west and calls to this for inspiration. It was begun in the dark days of 1940; Akhmatova’s first husband had been shot, her second died in Stalin’s camps and her son spent years in those camps. She herself felt deeply threatened – who wouldn’t? Shadows are perceived in various areas…Akhmatova’s work was banned by the soviet authorities for 30 years; even though she could see little or no hope of her work ever being published she continued to write questioning, refined, sometimes cynical poetry which has a lyrical energy very well conveyed by Strickland. Strickland makes good use of the space as she moves and appears to make Akhmatova question the past, the literary giants on whose shoulders she stands, the shadows and even herself. Strickland is continually engaging as a performer, and makes the verse involving and dramatic at all points, without ever being excessively dramatic. An excellent realisation of a demanding task.If this appeals to you, get along – it is not often that you see a great poem brought to life vividly and dramatically in this way.

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The Blurb

Anna Akhmatova's greatest poem, translated by D M Thomas. New verses specially translated. Her first husband was shot. Her second died in Stalin's camps. She was banned for 30 years. Yet her lyrics remained delicate, beautiful, refined.

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