Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

(1893-1930 / Russia)

Biography of Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (Влади́мир Влади́мирович Маяко́вский) (July 19 [O.S. July 7] 1893 – April 14, 1930) was a Russian and Soviet poet and playwright, among the foremost representatives of early-20th century Russian Futurism.

The 1912 Futurist publication A Slap in the Face of Public Tastecontained Mayakovsky's first published poems: Night and Morning]. Because of their political activities, Burlyuk and Mayakovsky were expelled from the Moscow Art School in 1914.



Image from Mayakovsky's ("How to Make Poetry").His work continued in the Futurist vein until 1914. His artistic development then shifted increasingly in the direction of narrative and it was this work, published during the period immediately preceding the Russian Revolution, which was to establish his reputation as a poet in Russia and abroad.

A Cloud in Trousers (1915) was Mayakovsky's first major poem of appreciable length and it depicted the heated subjects of love, revolution, religion and art, written from the vantage point of a spurned lover. The language of the work was the language of the streets, and Mayakovsky went to considerable lengths to debunk idealistic and romanticised notions of poetry and poets.

In the summer of 1915, Mayakovsky fell in love with a married woman, Lilya Brik, and it is to her that the poem "The Backbone Flute" (1916) was dedicated; unfortunately for Mayakovsky, she was the wife of his publisher, Osip Brik. The love affair, as well as his impressions of war and revolution, strongly influenced his works of these years. The poem "War and the World" (1916) addressed the horrors of WWI and "Man" (1917) is a poem dealing with the anguish of love.

Mayakovsky was rejected as a volunteer at the beginning of WWI, and during 1915-1917 worked at the Petrograd Military Automobile School as a draftsman. At the onset of the Russian Revolution, Mayakovsky was in Smolny, Petrograd. There he witnessed the October Revolution. He started reciting poems such as "Left March! For the Red Marines: 1918" ,1918) at naval theatres, with sailors as an audience.

His satirical play Mystery-Bouffe was staged in 1918, and again, more successfully, in 1921.

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Lilichka

Tobacco smoke has consumed the air.
The room
is a chapter in Kruchenykh's inferno.
Remember -
beyond that window
in a frenzy
I first stroked your hands.
You sit here today
with an iron-clad heart.

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