Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966)
Anna Akhmatova is one of Russia’s most revered poets. Her work often criticized Stalin’s Russia by lending a voice to victims of the regime. Like many of her friends and family in intellectual circles, she was considered a threat to the country. Fearing arrest, she and other poets started memorizing each other’s work so it could be spread orally, instead of keeping a written record. Her most well-known poem, “Requiem,” depicts the horrors and suffering that occurred under Stalin. She spent 20 years of her life on “Poem Without a Hero,” which she dedicated to the memory of those lost during the siege on Leningrad from 1941 to 1944.
Hokyoung Kim is an illustrator from South Korea living in New York.