Graham Fawcett’s lecture performances are a journey through the life and work of a poet, setting the scene of the world they lived in, performing high lights from their poetry and writings, with intelligent critique and cross-referencing. For anyone who loves poetry, this is a chance to celebrate much-loved work or to discover something new. You can also enjoy a delicious pre-lecture dinner served by the celebrated and award-winning Café Sladers. Choose a full dinner or just a light snack from our daily menu of seafood, free-range meat and vegetarian/vegan dishes. A wonderful selection of wines, desserts and cheese are also here to tempt you.
Please phone 01308 459511 to book your tickets now.
Anna Akhmatova’s was one of the most dramatic lives in the history of poetry. She lived through the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 when she was 16 and 28. Her ex-husband was executed by firing squad when she was 32. Stalin had her son repeatedly imprisoned as part of a campaign of persecution against her. She endured the bombardment prior to the Siege of Leningrad in 1941 with the inspirational mother-courage of Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, broadcasting to the women of Leningrad – we have the stirring transcripts – and on air-warden duty with a gas-mask slung over her shoulder.
No sooner was the war over than Akhmatova was ‘officially’ vilified in public in 1946 by Stalin’s sidekick Zhdanov as the epitomy of the anti-State artist and intellectual, “poisoning the youth with the pernicious spirit of her poetry”. Nearly twenty years later, Akhmatova, begowned in the purple of a Doctor of Literature, stood next to Siegfried Sassoon in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre to hear the Public Orator compare her to Sappho.
At the end of her life, Akhmatova looked back gratefully at what she had been through: “I never stopped writing poems. In them is my link with time, with the new life of my people . . . I believed in the resounding rhythms reflected in the heroic history of my country. I am happy that I lived in these years and saw events which cannot be equalled”.
“The young girl who reinvented herself as Anna Akhmatova”, wrote Elaine Feinstein, “would become one of the two greatest female poets in Russian literature; the other, Marina Tsvetayeva, would crown her with the title “Anna of all the Russias.”
We in Britain recognise her as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. What is more, the relevance of her life to ours in the 21st becomes more remarkable with every day that passes !
Splendid, and gripping.
MICK DELAP – Akhmatova Night in Greenwich.
A fascinating lecture. People were enthralled and totally engaged.
IRENA HILL – Akhmatova Night in Greenwich.