There's a surge of interest in the work of 20th century Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. It's inspired in part by American country and folk singer-songwriter Iris Dement, who has an adopted daughter from Russia and has set some of the poet's work to music in a new album, The Trackless Woods.
Akhmatova, born in 1889, witnessed the tumultuous years of the Russian Revolution and lived through the horrors of Joseph Stalin's repressions. She survived as a beacon of artistic courage.
Akhmatova came from an aristocratic background and she knew the splendor of the palace during its pre-revolution days — when it was, as Nisnikova says, "a kind of treasure house with examples of Western European art, ancient Russian icons, armor and ancient manuscripts."