by John Aitken

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by John Aitken

A stirring drama about Anna Akhmatova who is remembered as

perhaps the greatest Russian lyric poet of the twentieth century. Her life and work is inextricably linked to the great northern metropolis of Saint Petersburg...the stern dark city of many waters.

After the brilliant success of her first books of poetry, Akhmatova was forcibly silenced, condemned as a 'half-nun, half-harlot'. In 1921 the poet Nikolai Gumilev, her former husband and father of her only child, was arrested and executed on the false charge of counter-revolutionary conspiracy. Their son Lev was arrested three times and spent many years in prison. All this unfolded against the background of two World Wars, the Great Terror, the Leningrad Blockade and evacuation to Central Asia.

'The Ships Pass Quietly' is a tense drama about a great artist who will not be silenced.

'Let the prison doves coo in the distance
As the ships pass quietly on the Neva...'

'A beautifully realised account of a fascinating woman for whom poetry was sustenance throughout her hard life... an elegant tribute to both Akhmatova and poets as truthtellers.'
Victoria Laurie, The Australian, 20 July 2006

This title appears in:

Western Australian Premier's Award (2006 nominee)