It was wonderful to share space with you all last night, and I’m truly looking forward to next week with Trudy!
I wanted to share a bit about the poets that Koshin and I both rather spontaneously shared last night, poets that come to mind for many of us when humanity is experiencing some of its darkest, most painful moments:
Instead of a Preface by Anna Akhmatova
Everything is Plundered by Anna Akhmatova
Love by Czeslaw Miłosz
Some thoughts about these poets-
They lived through some of the darkest periods of the 20th century— Anna Akhmatova enduring the stifling atmosphere of Stalinist Russia and the purges that took away her loved ones, and Czeslaw Miłosz surviving the horrors of World War II and the oppressive Cold War in Poland—both poets still managed to find glimmers of love and beauty amidst the gloom.
For Akhmatova, who faced personal loss and widespread political repression, love became a defiant act. It was as if each expression of emotional connection was a stand against the dehumanizing machinery of the state. Her love, fragile yet unyielding, served as both solace and sorrow—a complex tapestry woven against a backdrop of societal despair.
Miłosz, on the other hand, bore witness to the atrocities of war and the suffocating grip of totalitarianism. Yet, even here, he located beauty in nature, in memories, or in the intellectual pursuit itself. For him, love and beauty weren’t just fleeting moments of escape but essential elements that nourished the resilience of the human spirit.
Despite the harsh realities that framed their lives, both Akhmatova and Miłosz found ways to evoke love and beauty in their work. I feel that their work is an affirmation of humanity’s capacity to find light in darkness. Their poetry serves as a testament to the indomitable human spirit—anchored in their unflinching capacity to bear profound suffering, yet reaching towards the profound and universally wisdom.