Little Bits of Memory
Anna Akhmatova's poem Requiem was written for her son, who was imprisoned by Stalin in the 1930s. She wrote the entire manuscript on scraps of paper that she destroyed as soon as she committed them to memory for fear that she herself would be arrested. A few friends helped her memorize the text, which they carried in quiet for more than twenty years. When they did publish it, in 1963, it had became a kind of oral poetry bearing witness to the crimes of the Soviet Union, specifically the Stalinist regime.