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

Mayakovsky (Allen Ginsberg’s 1975 Naropa class)

File:Mayakovsky 1910.jpg

[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) aged 17 – photographer unknown]

Shifting same time (19th/early 20th century) to Moscow. Or.. of the same time, the equivalent group in Russia were the Futurists, who were maybe the earliest relatives, the earliest people who broke up a sense of consciousness, or a sense of a solid consciousness that the 19th century had. It was broken up a good deal in Rimbaud with the Alchemy of the Word and the long reasoned derangement of the senses, but by the time of 1905, it had become already artistic practice, and not just a great eccentric genius … Read More

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)

On July 19 1893 (July 7 on the Old Style Julian calendar) Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky, the great Russian poet, was born. Here’s Mayakovsky reading An Extraordinary Adventure Which Happened To Me, Vladimir Mayakovsky, One Summer In The Country (the English translation, along with several other Mayakovsky translations, may be found here). And here’s a shorter piece (in English translation: And Could You?”). A recording of Mayakovsky’s great poem “At The Top of My Voice”, originally attributed to him, but now thought not to be him, is available here (Allen particularly admired this poem. As … Read More