Perfect, Unexpected Rhymes

April 10 is poet Bella Akhmadulina’s 65th birthday (born 1937). A graduate of the Literary Institute (1960), Akhmadulina belongs to the shestidesyatniki (“60s”)—those Russian poets whose stars rose in the 1960s. Her first collection of verses, String, demonstrated an original poetic language, rhythm and perfect, yet unexpected, rhymes. More collections followed:  Shiver (1968) and Lessons of Music (1969). By the 1970s, Akhmadulina was an accomplished poet whose books (e.g. Verses, 1975, and Snow Storm, 1977) were swept from store shelves in a matter of days by the millions of poetry lovers.

In the 1970s, film maker Eldar Ryazanov included songs composed by Mikhail Tariverdiev (some with lyrics by Akhmadulina) in his hit movie Irony of Fate. At about this time, Akhmadulina for the first time visited Georgia. She fell in love with the republic’s culture and poetry and later offered brilliant translations of works by the Georgian poets Simon Chikovani, Georgy Tavbidze and Irakly Abashidze. Her collections of verse Candle (1977) and Dreams of Georgia (1979) were influenced by her sojourn in Georgia. Her most recent verses include Trip to the City (1996) and Delight in Kuokkala (1997). Today, Akhmadulina, who has been an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Literature since 1977, lives and works in Moscow.

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