July 19 (Mayakovsky’s Birthday)

[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]

Today, July 19, the great poet, Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky, was born in Baghdati, Georgia. We’ve featured Mayakovsky numerous times here on the Allen Ginsberg Project. For example, here and here.

The fourteen-part series, Allen’s 1981 focus (with in-class presentation by Ann Charters)  begins here, and continues  here, here and here  (Expansive Poetry) .

Further posts  here (Akhmatova and Mayakovsky), here (Mayakovsky on Esenin), here (Mayakovsky and Mandelstam), here (“The Bedbug”), here (“At The Top of My Voice“), here (Mayakovsky and the Revolution), here (Mayakovsky and … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 55 – (Mayakovsky and Tatiana)

[Tatiana Yacovieff du Plessix Liberman (1906-1991)]

Ann Charters:  Well, again, with Mayakovsky, this his public declaration – “Conversation with a Tax Collector About Poetry“ [“Разговор с фининспектором о поэзии] – was followed shortly on by another private experience that actually marks the end, or the beginning of the end, of his life.  On a trip to Paris he fell in love with another lady, the first lady he truly loved after Lili Brik. And what this meant was not necessarily the end of Mayakovsky, except that the woman he chose to fall in … Read More

Expansive Poetics 54 – (Mayakovsky – Public Poetry)


AG: What did we have? What is the next thing we were going to do? Because I have an idea. Ann Charters; Well, I was going to talk (next) about his (Mayakovsky‘s) work for the Party. I mean, what does a poet do who’s taken up by the Communist Party? AG: Okay Ann Charters: Yeah? AG: That’d be interesting,  yeah. Ann Charters: Interesting? No kidding! Very interesting! – I mean, before he kills himself, right?.  In 1926.. okay, I’m skipping over the part where Mayakovsky has his trip to America, because we’re going to have a … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 53 – (Mayakovsky and Lili Brik)

 [Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik]

Lili, drawing by Mayakovsky, 1916 [Lili Brik, drawn by her lover Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1916,one year after their meeting] 

Ann Charters: So about this, this is a long, long, poem, which, is in my feeling one of his (Mayakovsky‘s) masterpieces – to Lili (Brik) – it’s a Surrealistic poem, (it’s a poem like the “Backbone Flute“, by the way, the poem about his suicide..) AG: “Spine Flute” or “Backbone Flute” – weird title! Ann Charters: Yeah, right – not “A Cloud in Trousers” but a “Backbone Flute”, the one we talked about.. AG: Uh-huh Ann Charters: But … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 46 (Mayakovsky – 3)

[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]

AG: I think what I’d like to do is skip to the suicide poem [“At The Top of My Voice‘], just to get the correalation between the universal (and the personal). “At The Top of My Voice –  Unfinished Prologue To the Second Part of A Poem on the Five Year Plan” – one –  (this is Lily Brik, his girlfriend, having gone out of town to London – “She loves me. She loves me not”.. Who’s he referring to now? (Tatiana), the girl in Paris?

Ann Charters: Each girlfriend that I … Read More