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 Bella Akhmadulina

Born:   April, 10th, 1937
Deceased:   November, 29th, 2010

Russian poetess and essayist


Bella Akhmadulina was an outstanding Russian poetess, one of the brightest representatives of the progressive generation of the Sixties. Along with Andrei Voznesensky and her ex-husband Yevgeny Yevtushenko she was considered "the poet of the tribune" - their public readings gathered not only capacity houses, but even full stadiums.

Bella (Izabella) Akhatovna Akhmadulina was born on April, 10th, 1937 in Moscow.

Her father, a Tatar by birth, was a deputy minister, and her mother was a Russian of Italian descent and worked as a translator in the KGB.

Bella started to write poetry already in her school days. In 1957 she was subjected to bitter criticism in The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. When a student yet, she refused to join in the hounding of Boris Pasternak and was expelled from the Moscow Literary Institute for that. After all she was reinstated and graduated the institute in 1960. The poetess was also into journalism and writing essays.

Bella Akhmadulina participated in samizdat underground literary journals Syntax and MetrOpol and repeatedly stood up for representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia, such as Andrei Sakharov, Lev Kopelev, Georgi Vladimov, Vladimir Voinovich, who were persecuted by Soviet authorities. Her speeches in their defense were published in The New York Times and repeatedly broadcast over The Freedom and The Voice of America radio stations.

Bella Akhmadulina was first married to the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko and later to the writer Yury Nagibin. In 1974 she became the wife of the theatrical artist Boris Messer.

The poetess’ first book “String” was published in 1962. Altogether Bella Akhmadulina got her 10 books of poetry issued in the USSR (1962-1988), and her second volume of verses “A Chill” published in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 1968. More than 15 books of Akhmadulina’s poetry and her collected edition in three volumes came out in the post-Soviet Russia.

In 1964 the poetess made her starry appearance in Vasily Shukshin’s film Zhivyot takoy paren aka There Is Such a Lad, where she played a young journalist.

In 1977 Bella Akhmadulina was chosen the honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Joseph Brodsky believed that Bella Akhmadulina was “the unquestionable successor of Lermontov and Pasternak’s line in Russian poetry” and a poet, whose “verse contemplates, meditates, and digresses; whose syntax - tenacious and hypnotic – to a great extent is a product of her true voice”.

In 1970 the poetess visited Georgia, and since then this land took a remarkable place in her creativity. She translated Georgian poets a lot, such as Baratashvili, Tabidze, Chikovani, and others. The journal Literary Georgia issued her verses in those years, when it was impossible in Russia due to ideological interdictions.

Bella Akhmadulina is the author of numerous essays, including those about Vladimir Nabokov, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Venedict Yerofeyev, and Vladimir Vysotsky.

In June 2010 Bella’s close friend - poet Andrei Voznesensky – passed away. It was a hard blow for Akhmadulina. Earlier she mentioned many times that she would die before him.

“I and Andrei wrote each other various dedications, and in one of them I wrote that I would go before Andrei. I was mistaken. A human being cannot know it” – she admitted.

Bella Akhmadulina died, aged 73, in Peredelkino Settlement near Moscow on November, 29th, 2010.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko said that in Bella’s person Russia lost another great poet, a worthy successor of Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva.

“Bella was a paragon of fidelity to poetry and an example of civil nobleness. She always fearlessly supported those who suffered disaster. In the future young poets should understand that professional poetic mastery, if they want to be self-consistent poets, the voices of Russia, must be inseparable from civil conscience", - the poet pointed out.




    Moscow Region


Tags: Russian literature Russian poets Bella Akhmadulina   

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