Akhmatova in Translation


While Skylar and Leen prefered the Thomas translation of Akhmatova’s “Requiem,” Emily and I favored the Anderson translation. Skylar commented that Thomas’s translation had a clearer rhyme scheme and heavier wording. Leen prefered Thomas because his translation felt more literal to her. Emily liked Anderson’s translation more because she felt the sentences flowed better while Thomas’s sentence structure was odd. I prefer the Anderson translation because the phrasing felt more organic. The Thomas translation felt stiff and formal to me. I also like how Anderson eases into the rhyme scheme. The first couple of sections do not rhyme but she transitions into rhyme at the latter end of the “Prologue” then goes into a full rhyme scheme starting at “The Sentence.” This transition emphasizes the reality within the poem. At first it just feels like Akhmatova is telling her own story and experiences but then as the rhyme scheme transitions you feel she is telling the stories of a whole nation.