Unit 7 Post


Connect with your AT group (without your AT, just Humesters) to discuss Akhmatova’s “Requiem,” specifically to decide which of the two translations you like best—or think works best, or resonates with you, or prompts more questions for you, or brings to you an aesthetic or emotional response in ways that that the other translation doesn’t, or doesn’t so much. As you remember from the translation panel back in unit 2, translation is about choices.

Akhmatova Post Emily McDill:

My AT group unanimously agreed that we preferred the Anderson translation because we found the language to be more descriptive and poetic, which we believe was more effective at conveying the grim tone of the poem. I preferred how Anderson tried to make the translation have rhythm and rhyme in English, because even if it is not the literal translation of the Russian, I think it allows English-speaking readers to have the same emotional response as one would reading it in the native language. I also disliked how there was shorter syntax in Thomas’s translation because it sounded choppier and distracted from the poem’s depressing tone. One’s preference really comes down to what they value more: a commitment to a more literal translation (Thomas), or a more linguistically pleasing and poetic translation (Anderson).

!: I was surprised that poetry was such an influential art because typically I associate the appreciation of poetry with academia, rather than representing the sentiments of an entire population.

?: Could this similar reverence for poets and poetry ever occur in Western Europe or the United States? Under what circumstances?