Vi avverto che vivo per l’ultima volta. Noi e Anna Achmatova
“And we, what are we becoming? And me, what have I become?” wonders Paolo Nori. And the answer comes from a distance that in truth burns distances and carries with it, like a whirlwind of visions, facts, feelings, and of course poetry, the life of Anna Achmatova.
“We want to tell,” says Nori, “the story of Anna Achmatova, a Russian poetess who was born near Odessa in 1889 and died in Moscow in 1966. Although Anna Achmatova wanted to be called a poet, not a poetess, and her name was not, in fact, Achmatova, her name was Gorenko; when her father, a Russian naval officer, learned that his daughter was writing poetry, he told her, ‘Don’t mix our surname with these dishonorable affairs.’ So she, instead of stopping writing verse, thought better of changing her last name. And she took the surname of one of her ancestors on her mother’s side, a Tatar princess: Achmatova.” Anna was a strong woman, a woman who, “with just the tilt of her head,” as Iosif Brodsky, her friend and future Nobel laureate, had this to say, “transformed you into homo sapiens. “Nun and prostitute” to Soviet critics, excluded from the Writers’ Union, deprived of loved ones, became, during World War II, Russia’s most popular voice under Nazi siege, then banned, guarded, without means. She lavished obstinacy and steadfastness. She suffered as souls suffer who, even when they yield, do not yield. She did not stop writing, even when her poetry could only be passed from mouth to mouth. He was able, at the end of his life, to be what he wanted to be: the greatest poet, indeed, the greatest Russian poet of his time.
After entering Dostoevsky’s, Nori enters another incredible life, but this time we realize that, in approaching Anna to us as we have become, and us to Russia as she has become, we are confronted with a cruel urgency, a figure who looks at us, concerns us, and touches us more strongly where we are still human creatures.