Nearly 700 admirers of Akhmatova’s work filled St Paul’s Cathedral, listening to the once-banned poems, read in both Russian and English. Over the hour the story of Anna Akhmatova’s achievement built a cumulative power. A woman born in testing times. Akhmatova continued to write poems through the Russian Revolution, the Civil War, the rise of Stalin, the Terror, and WW II, even when many around her—including her closest family—were arrested, executed, exiled in camps or else fled the country. The beauty of her personal poems sounded alongside her many historic poems including a selected reading from ‘Requiem’.