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Acmeism Movement

Century: 20th

To the Acmeist, the role of the poet was not to be an oracle or a diviner but a skilled worker.


The movement of Acmeism began in the early twentieth century, partially as a reaction against symbolism. In defiance of the older poets whose innovations had changed poetry in Russia, Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, and Osip Mandel'shtam began to apply their own ideas to the art of building poetry. They wanted to bring the art form back down to earth. They did not believe poetry was tied to mysticism and thought that poets (who were talented human beings rather than the prophets of symbolism) should express ideas about culture, the word, and human existence.

Time was transparent to the acmeists. The past, present and future met in the lines of their poetry. The Hellenistic age encroached on twentieth century Russia, and the acmeists continued the symbolist tradition of incorporating mythical and biblical figures into their verses.