Remembering Voz (Andrei Voznesensky)

Allen Ginsberg and Andrei Voznesensky, New York City, May 1994 – photo by Gordon Ball

Andrei Voznesensky died on this day, aged 77, on July 1st 2010.

Here‘s the obituary that appeared in the New York Times  (and here in The Guardian, and  here in The Independent)

Alan Cheuse on NPR remembers him

Allen, writing  to Gregory Corso, May, 1963, on his discovery of Voznesensky’s poetry in Evergreen Review  – “Evergreen, number 28, Voznesensky is a genius about hotels on the moon and “17 Voznesenskys” now, that’s a really worthy futuristic poem with even some soft mechanical paranoia.  –  [Editorial note – Allen can be seen two years later, reading this poem in London at the epic International Poetry Incarnation (with Vosnesensky in the audience) – see here]  Gregory, those Russian poets are probably our brothers and Voznesensky I bet a great young poet, that is judged from Anselm Hollo‘s translation of ‘”Fire in Architectural Poem”, moving on from one burning lot to another, and the fragments of “Triangular Pear” in Evergreen. So now we got more great souls, but this time, I think at least Voz (sic) really great word of mouth , and I read somewhere in a Russian mag, Soviet Literature in answer to a questionnaire he says he writes spontaneously, and also his poesy a probe or exploration of his consciousness. Something’s cooking. Just that one poem about New York hotels of the moon, and aluminum forests in one eye robots staring up at him from urinal. Unless it’s Hollo’s talent and not Voznesensky’s genius…’

AG to Bob Elliott,  Freelance Interview , March 1967  – “(Andrei) Voznesensky asked me something very funny in Russia last year. He said, “What language do you think in?” I wasn’t sure how smart he was, so I said,”Sometimes I think in Spanish and sometime in English”. And he said, “Do you always think in words?” And I was amazed and delighted and said, “Well what do you think in?” And he said, “I think in rhythms. And that was very hip, for anywhere, especially Russia, where everything is so conceptual and ideological.”

Here’s the 1966 recording Antiworlds (named after his book of the same name) with readings by Voznesensky and translations read by Richard Wilbur, Stanley Kunitz, William Jay Smith, and W.H.Auden 

Starting from their meeting in the 60’s and lasting through many decades Allen and “Voz” maintained a life-long personal and professional connection

writing in 1992 (to Charles Rothschild (of the MacArthur Foundation): ‘…there’s been no diminution of energy or art over 30 year period. Voznesensky’s translation of Plutonian Ode was printed in Izvestia several years ago..”

Andrei Voznesensky and Allen Ginsberg, Adelaide, Australia, March 1972. Photo probably snapped by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, with Allen’s camera. c Allen Ginsberg Estate

Allen Ginsberg & Andrei Voznesensky, Mexico City, 1981. photographer unknown

Here from 1991 from the Lannan Foundation is “Writers Uncensored – Andrei Voznesensky: Enemy of the Status Quo” – footage of Voznesensky reading and speaking:

Voz and Ginsberg, Ginsberg and Voz

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