Our Notes & References
First edition of Akhmatova’s last book published during her lifetime, and the most complete collection of her poems to that date, with many published here for the first time. Complete with the dust-jacket illustrated with Modigliani’s portrait of the poetess.
The poems appearing here for the first time come from two unpublished collections, ‘Trostnik’ (written 1924–40) and ‘Sedmaia kniga’ (1936–64), neither of which had been published as a separate book. Only a few of these poems had appeared in severely censored collections of Akhmatova’s poems in 1940, 1958 and 1961, but the majority were published first in ‘Beg vremeni’. Akhmatova had alluded to ‘Sedmaia kniga’ in the earlier ‘Poem bez geroia’ [Poem Without a Hero] as “half dead and mute”, so implausible did its publication appear to be at the time she began writing it.
The title, ‘Seventh Book’, presumably alludes to poems which Akhmatova intended to make up her next book, poems which were written after those published in ‘From Six Books’ in 1940, or which were excluded from that publication. Although the ban on Akhmatova’s publishing had been partially lifted, ‘Beg vremeni’ has been edited, still, in a manner of which she disapproved. For instance, only the first part of ‘Poem bez geroia’ appears here, because Akhmatova would not allow parts II and III to be published in the form in which the censors deemed appropriate.