Sappho’s Influence on Anna Akhmatova

4 April 2015
A comparison between the Greek Poet Sappho and the Russian Poet Anna Akhmatova.

This paper compares and contrasts the Greek Poet Sappho and the Russian Poet Anna Akhmatova. Each poet is discussed individually in terms of history, style, overall influence on their era, major emphases, relevant political issues, and life/cultural/societal crises that influenced their work.
Aeolic dialect (many meters) was used in Sappho’s poetry and she became known for her Sapphic Stanza. She wrote mainly for young women. Her principal subject was love and the expression of her feelings for women, her daughter and nature. She also composed songs or poems to celebrate marriage and tell of the events of the wedding day. In the second and third centuries B.C. her poems were collected and edited into nine books. Her work influenced readers, scholars and Roman poets among whom there were: Catullus, Ovid and Horace. By the fifth century A.D., Sappho’s poetry was virtually forgotten.

While exemplifying personal or confessional poetry, Anna achieved universal appeal pro artistic and emotional integrity. Her primary subject was love, mostly frustrated, tragic love with an intensely feminine accent. She later added civic, patriotic and religious themes without sacrificing personal intensity or artistic conscience.

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