biografía        bibliografía


"Облако в штанах" 1915
"Флейта-позвоночник" 1916
"Человек" 1918
"Про это" 1923
Из поэмы "Владимир Ильич Ленин" 1924
"Летающий пролетарий"


Избранные стихотворения 1893-1930 годов
Стихотворения 1912-1916 годов
Стихотворения 1917-1919 годов
"Окна сатиры Роста" 1919-1920 годов
Стихотворения 1920-1925 годов
Цикл стихотворений "Париж" (1925 год)
Цикл "Стихи об Америке" (1925 год)
Стихотворения 1926 года
Стихотворения 1927 года
Стихотворения 1928 года
Стихотворения 1929-1930 годов
Лозунги 1929-1930 годов
Антирелигиозные стихотворения


"Мистерия Буфф" 1919

— páginas en ruso sobre Mayakovski

• • •

Selected works:

POSHCHOCHINA OBSHCHESTVENNOMU VKUSU, 1912 [A Slap in the Face of Public Taste]
YA: FUTUR-ALMANAKH VSELONSKOY SAMOSTI, 1913 [Me: Futuro-Miscellany of Universal Selfhood]
VLADIMIR MAIAKOVSKII: TRAGEDIIA, 1914 (play, prod. 1913) - Vladimir Mayakovsky: A Tragedy (trans. Guy Daniels, in The Complete Plays, 1968)
OBLAKO V SHTANAKH, 1915 (rev. ed. 1918) - A Cloud in Trousers (translators: Max Hayward and George Reavey, in The Bedbug and Selected Poetry, 1975; Dorian Rottenberg, in Selected Works, 1986; G.M. Hyde, in How Are Verses Made With a Cloud in Trousers and to Sergey Esenin, 1990) - Pilvi housuissa ja muita runoja (suom. Arvo Turtiainen, 1959)
FLEYTA POZVONOCHNIK, 1916 - The Backbone Flute (tr. by Max Hayward and George Reavey, in The Bedbug and Selected Poetry, 1960) - Selkärankahuilu (suom. Arvo Turtiainen ja Modest Savtschenko, in Parnasso, 1963)
PROSTAE KAK MYCHANIE, 1916 [Simple as Mooing]
VOINA I MIR, 1916 - War and the World (trans. Dorian Rottenberg, in Selected Works, 1986)
CHELOVEK, 1918 - Man (tr. by Dorian Rottenberg, in Selected Works, 1986)
ODA REVOLYUTSI, 1918 [Ode to Revolution)]
MISTERIIA-BUFF, 1919 (play, prod. 1918, rev. version 1921) - Mystery-Bouffe
(translators: G.R. Noyes & A. Kaun, in Masterpieces of the Russian Drama, 1933; Guy Daniels, in The Complete Plays, 1968) - Mysteerio Buffa (suom.)
LEVY MARSH, 1919 - Left March (trans. Alec Vagapov) - Vasemmistomarssi (suom., in 20 Neuvostoliiton runoilijaa, 1960)
"150,000,000", 1920
PRO ETO, 1923 - It (tr. by Dorian Rottenberg, in Selected Works, 1986) / About This (tr. Herbert Marshall, in Mayakovsky, 1965)
LIRIKA, 1923
VLADIMIR ILYITSH LENIN, 1924 - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (tr. Dorian Rottenberg, in Selected Works, 1968; Herbert Marshall, in Mayakovsky, 1960) - Vladimir Iljitš Lenin (suom. Armas Äikiä, 1947; Arvo Turtiainen, 1970)
Mayakovsky and His Poetry, 1924
PARIZ, 1924-25 - Essays on Paris (tr. 1975)
KAK DELAR STIKHI?, 1926 - How Are Verses Made? (tr. G. M. Hyde, 1970) - Kuinka säkeitä valmistetaan (suom. Tuomas Anhava, teoksissa Pilvi housuissa ja muita runoja, 1959, Valitut runot, 1984)
MOYE OTKRYTIYE AMERIKI, 1926 - My Discovery of America (tr. 2005)
KHOROSHO!, 1927 - Fine (tr. Dorian Rottenberg, in Selected Works, 1986 - Hyvin: lokakuu-runoelma (suom. A. Äikiä, 1955)
KON-OGON, 1928 - Timothy's Horse (adapted from the Russian by Guy Daniels)
KEM BYT'?, 1928 (4th ed. 1932) - Kenenä olla? (suom. 1939) / Miksi aion? (suom. N. Laine, 1955)
KLOP, 1929 (play, prod. 1929) - The Bedbug (translators: Max Hayward, in The Bedbug and Selected Poetry, 1960; Guy Daniels, in The Complete Plays, 1968)
BANYA, 1930 (play, prod. 1930) - The Bathhouse (trans. Guy Daniels, in The Complete Plays, 1968) - Sauna (suom. Esa Adrian, 1967)
KINO, 1937
Mayakovsky and his Poetry, 1942 (compiled and translated by Herbert Marshall, rev. ed. 1945, 1955)
POLNOE SOBRANIE SOCHINENII, 1955-61 (13 vols., ed. V.A. Katanyan)
PIS'MA, 1956 (ed. Lili Brik)
The Bedbug and Selected Poetry, 1960 (ed. P. Blake, tr. Max Hayward and George Reavey)
Mayakovsky, 1965 (trans. Herbert Marshall)
The Complete Plays of Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1968 (trans. Guy Daniels)
Poems, 1972 (tr. by Dorian Rottenberg)
SOBRANIE SOCHINENII, 1978-79 (12 vols.)
Selected Works, 1985-87 (3 vols., tr. Dorian Rottenberg)
V.V. MAIAKOVSKII I. L.IU. BRIK, 1982 - Love is the Heart of Everything: Correspondence Between Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik, 1915-1930 (ed. by Bengt Jangfeldt, tr. Julian Graffy)
Listen! Early Poems, 1987 (trans. Maria Enzensberger)
POEMY, 1989

• • •

by Vladimir Mayakovsky

Prior to the October Revolution, Futurism--as a unified, exactly formulated trend--did not exist in Russia.
Critics christened everything that was revolutionary and new with this name.
Our group, the so-called (unfortunately) Cubo-Futurists (V. Khlebnikov, V. Mayakovsky, D. Burliuk, A. Kruchenykh, V. Kamensky, N. Aseev, O.M. Brik, S. Tretyakov, B. Kushner) was a group of Futurists welded together by ideology.
We had no time to deal with the theory of poetry; we were busy putting it into practice.
The only manifesto of this group was the introduction to the anthology "A Slap in the Face of Public Taste", published in 1913. It was a poetic manifesto, expressing the goals of Futurism in emotional slogans.
The October Revolution marked a departure of our group from the numerous Futuro-imagists who had moved away from revolutionary Russia. It turned us into a group of "Communist-Futurists", with these literary tasks:
1) To establish the literary art as a tradecraft in words--not as an aesthetic stylization, but as the ability to solve in words any problem. a) to undertake work on vocabulary (new word formations, sound instrumentation, etc.)
b) to replace the conventional metrics of iambs and trochees with the polyrhythms of language itself.
c) to revolutionize syntax (simplification of the forms of word combinations, the shock of unusual word usage, etc.)
d) to renew the semantics of words and word combinations.
e) to create models of intriguing subject formations.
f) to reveal the ability of the word acting as poster.
The solution of the enumerated literary problems will create the possibility of satisfying needs in the most diverse spheres of literary creation (the form, article, telegram, poem, feuilleton, billboard, call to action, advertisement, and others).
Concerning the question of prose:
1) There is no genuinely Futuristic prose; there are individual attempts by Khlebnikov, by Kamensky, Kushner's Meeting of Palaces--but these attempts are less significant than the poetry of these same authors. This is explained by the fact that:
a) Futurists make no distinction between the different genres of poetry and view all of literature as a unified literary art.
b) before the Futurists it was assumed that lyric poetry had its own circle of themes, its own look, different from the themes and language of so-called artistic prose; for Futurists, this distinction does not exist.
c) before the Futurists it was assumed that poetry had one set of tasks (poetic), and practical speech another set (unpoetic); for Futurists, composing the call for a struggle against typhoid and love poetry are merely different sides of the same literary process.
d) so far, Futurists have produced predominately poetry. This is because, in the revolutionary epoch, when life has still not hardened, there is a demand for a lyric poetry of slogans, whipping up the practice of revolution, and not a Nestorlike summing up of the results of this practice.
e) and only in the most recent time has the task of producing models of the contemporary epic appeared before the Futurists. Not a bureaucratic-descriptive epic, but one that is genuinely tendentious or fantastically utopian, presenting life not as it is, but as it undoubtedly will be and should be.
V. Mayakovsky
1/IX 1922

Russian text from: "Literaturnoye nasledstvo: Novoye o Mayakovskom". Glavnii redaktor: V.V. Vinogradov. Izdatel'stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR. Moskva. 1958. st. 175-178.

English translation by: Eric Konkol

— sovlit

• • •

Russian Futurism is composed of several elements, which are quite independent from one another, and are often contradictory; philologic constructions and surmises considerably imbued with the archaic (Khlebnikov, Kruchenikh), which at any rate lie outside the sphere of poetry; a poetics, that is, a doctrine about the methods and processes of wordmaking; a philosophy of art, in fact two whole philosophies, a formalistic one (Shklovsky), and another one, more Marxist (Arvatov, Chuzhak, etc.); finally, poetry itself, the living work. We are not considering their literary insolence as an independent element, because it is generally combined with one of these fundamental elements. When Kruchenikh says that the meaningless syllables, “Dir, bul, tschil”, contain more poetry than all of Pushkin (or something to this effect) it is something midway between phulologic poetics, and the insolence of bad manners. In a more sober form, Kruchenikh’s idea may mean that the orchestration of verse in the key of “Dir, bul, tschil” suits the structure of the Russian language and the spirit of its sounds more than Pushkin’s orchestration, which is unconsciously influenced by the French language. Whether this is correct or incorrect, it is evident that “Dir, bul, tschil” is not a poetic extract from a Futurist work – so there is really nothing for one to compare. Perhaps it is possible that someone will write poems in this musical and philologic key which will be greater than Pushkin’s. But we have to wait.

Khlebnikov’s and Kruchenikh’s wordforms also lie outside poetry. They are philology of a doubtful character, poetics in part, but not poetry. It is absolutely unquestionable that language lives and develops, creating new words from within, and discarding antiquated ones. Hut a language does this extremely cautiously and calculatingly, and according to the strictest need. Every new great epoch gives an impetus to language. The latter hurriedly absorbs a large number of neologisms, and then re-registers them in its own way, discarding all that are unnecessary and foreign. Khlebnikov’s or Kruchenikh’s making ten or one hundred new derivative words out of existing roots may have a certain philological interest; they may, in a certain though very modest degree, facilitate the development of the living and even of the poetic language, and forecast a time when the evolution of speech will be more consciously directed. But this very work, whose character is subsidiary to art, is outside of poetry.

One need not fall into a state of pious adoration at the sound of superrational poetry, which resembles verbal musical scales and exercises and which is perhaps useful to pupils, but entirely inappropriate to the platform. At any rate, it is quite clear that to substitute the exercises of the “superreason” for poetry would stifle poetry. But Futurism will not go along this line. Mayakovsky, who is unquestionably a poet, takes his words generally from a standard dictionary and very rarely from Khlebnikov or Kruchenikh, and as time goes on, Mayakovsky uses arbitrary word-forms and neologisms more and more rarely.

The problems raised by the theorists of the “Lef” group about art and a machine industry, about art which does not embellish life, but forms it, about conscious influence upon the development of language and systematic formation of words, about biomechanics as the education of the activities of man in the spirit of the greatest rationality, and therefore of the greatest beauty – are all problems which are extremely significant and interesting from the point of view of building a Socialist culture.

Unfortunately, the “Lef” colors these problems by a Utopian sectarianism. Even when they mark out correctly the general trend of development in the field of art or life, the theorists of “Lef” anticipate history and contrast their scheme or their prescription with that which is. They thus have no bridge to the future. They remind one of anarchists who anticipate the absence of government in the future, and who contrast their scheme with the politics, parliaments and several other realities that the present ship of State must, in their imagination, of course, throw overboard. In practice, therefore, they bury their noses before they have hardly freed their tails. Mayakovsky proves, by complicated and rhymed verses, the superfluousness of verse and rhyme, and promises to write mathematical formulas, though we have mathematicians for that purpose. When the passionate experimenter, Meyerhold, the furious Vissarion Belinsky of the stage, produces on the stage the few semi. rhythmic movements he has taught those actors who are weak in dialogue, and calls this biomechanics, the result is – abortive. To tear out of the future that which can only develop as an inseparable part of it, and to hurriedly materialize this partial anticipation in the present day dearth and before the cold footlights, is only to make an impression of provincial dilettantism. And there is nothing more inimical to a new art than provincialism and dilettantism.

The new architecture will be made up of two halves; of new problems and of a new technical means of mastering both new and old material. The new problem will not be the building of a temple, or a castle or a private mansion, but rather a people’s home, a hotel for the masses, a commons, a community house, or a school of gigantic dimensions. The materials and the method of using them will be determined by the economic condition of the country at the moment when architecture will have become ready to solve its problems. To tear architectural construction out of the future is only arbitrariness, clever and individual. However, a new style cannot be reconciled to individual arbitrariness. The writers of the “Lef” themselves correctly point out that a new style develops where the machine industry produces for an impersonal consumer. The telephone apparatus is an example of a new style. The sleeping cars, the staircases and the stations of the subway, the elevators, all these are undoubtedly elements of a new style, just as were metallic bridges, covered markets, skyscrapers and cranes. Thus beyond a practical problem and the steady work of solving this problem, one cannot create a new architectural style. The effort to reason out such a style by the method of deduction from the nature of the proletariat, from its collectivism, activism, atheism, and so forth, is the purest idealism, and will give nothing but an ingenious expression of one’s ego, an arbitrary allegorism, and the same old provincial dilettantism.

The error of the “Lef”, at least of some of its theorists, appears to us in its most generalized form, when they make an ultimatum for the fusion of art with life. It is not to be argued that the separation of art from other aspects of social life was the result of the class structure of society, that the self-sufficient character of art is merely the reverse side of the fact that art became the property of the privileged classes, and that the evolution of art in the future will follow the path of a growing fusion with life, that is, with production, with popular holidays and with the collective group life. It is good that the “Lef” understands this and explains it. But it is not good when they present a short time ultimatum on the basis of the present day art, when they say: leave your “lathe” and fuse with life. In other words, the poets, the painters, the sculptors, the actors must cease to reflect, to depict, to write poems, to paint pictures, to carve sculptures, to speak before the footlights, but they must carry their art directly into life. But how, and where, and through what gates? Of course, one may hail every attempt to carry as much rhythm and sound and color as is possible into popular holidays and meetings and processions. But one must have a little historic vision, at least, to understand that between our present day economic and cultural poverty and the time of the fusion of art with life, that is, between the time when life will reach such proportions that it will be entirely formed by art, more than one generation will have come and gone. Whether for good or for bad, the “lathelike” art will remain for many years more, and will be the instrument of the artistic and social development of the masses and their aesthetic enjoyment, and this is true not only of the art of painting, but of lyrics, novels, comedies, tragedies, sculpture and symphony. To reject art as a means of picturing and imaging knowledge because of one’s opposition to the contemplative and impressionistic bourgeois art of the last few decades, is to strike from the hands of the class which is building a new society its most important weapon. Art, it is said, is not a mirror, but a hammer: it does not reflect, it shapes. But at present even the handling of a hammer is taught with the help of a mirror, a sensitive film which records all the movements. Photography and motion-picture photography, owing to their passive accuracy of depiction, are becoming important educational instruments in the field of labor. If one cannot get along without a mirror, even in shaving oneself, how can one reconstruct oneself or one’s life, without seeing oneself in the “mirror” of literature? Of course no one speaks about an exact mirror. No one even thinks of asking the new literature to have a mirror-like impassivity. The deeper literature is, and the more it is imbued with the desire to shape life, the more significantly and dynamically it will be able to “picture” life.

What does it mean to “deny experiences”, that is, deny individual psychology in literature and on the stage? This is a late and long outlived protest of the Left wing of the intelligentsia against the passive realism of the Chekhov school and against dreamy symbolism. If the experiences of Uncle Vanya have lost a little of their freshness – and this sin has actually taken place – it is none the less true that Uncle Vanya is not the only one with an inner life. In what way, on what grounds, and in the name of what, can art turn its back to the inner life of present day man who is building a new external world, and thereby rebuilding himself? If art will not help this new man to educate himself, to strengthen and refine himself, then what is it for? And how can it organize the inner life, if it does not penetrate it and reproduce it? Here Futurism merely repeats its own ABC’s which are now quite behind the times.

The same may be said about institutional life. Futurism arose as a protest against the art of petty realists who sponged on life. Literature suffocated and became stupid in the stagnant little world of the lawyer, the student, the amorous lady, the district civil servant, and of all their feelings, their joys and their sorrows. But should one carry one’s protest against sponging on life to the extent of separating literature from the conditions and forms of human life? If the Futurist protest against a shallow realism had its historic justification, it was only because it made room for a new artistic recreating of life, for destruction and reconstruction on new pivots.

It is curious that while denying that it is the mission of art to picture life, the “Lef” points to Nepoputschitsa of Brick as a model of prose. What is this work, if not a picture of life, in the form on an almost Communist change? The trouble does not lie in the fact that the Communists are not pictured here sweet as sugar or hard as steel, but in the fact that between the author and the vulgar environment which he describes, there isn’t an inch of perspective. But for art to be able to transform as well as to reflect, there must be a great distance between the artist and life, just as there is between the revolutionist and political reality.

In reply to criticisms against the “Lef”, which are often more insulting than convincing, the point is emphasized that the “Lef” is still constantly seeking. Undoubtedly the “Lef” seeks more than it has found. But this is not a sufficient reason why the Party cannot do that which is persistently recommended, and canonize the “Lef” or even a definite wing of it, as “Communist Art”. It is as impossible to canonize seekings as it is impossible to arm an army with an unrealized invention.

But does this mean that the “Lef” stands absolutely on a false road, and that we can have nothing to do with it? No, it does not mean this. The situation is not that the Party has definite and fixed ideas on the question of art in the future, and that a certain group is sabotaging them. This is not the case at all. The Party has not, and cannot have, readymade decisions on versification, on the evolution of the theater, on the renovation of the literary language, on architectural style, etc., just as in another field the Party has not and cannot have readymade decisions on the best kind of fertilization, on the most correct organization of transport, and on the most perfect machine guns. But as regards machine guns and transportation and fertilization, the practical decisions are needed immediately. What does the Party do then? It assigns certain Party workers to the task of considering and mastering these problems, and it checks up these Party workers by the practical results of their achievements. In the field of art the question is both simpler and more complex. As far as the political use of art is concerned, or the impossibility of allowing such use by our enemies, the Party has sufficient experience, insight, decision and resource. But the actual development of art, and its struggle for new forms are not part of the Party’s tasks, nor is it its concern. The Party does not delegate anyone for such work. At the same time, a certain point of contact exists between the problems of art, politics, technique and economics. It is necessary for the inner interdependence of these problems. This is what the group of the “Lef” is concerned with. This group plays tricks, plunges to this side and that, and – let them not be offended by this – does a good deal of theoretical bluffing. But did we not, and are we not also bluffing in fields much more vitally important? In the second place, did we try seriously to correct errors of theoretic approach or of partisan enthusiasm in practical work? We have no reason to doubt that the “Lef” group is striving seriously to 'work in the interest of Socialism, that it is pro. foundly interested in the problems of art, and that it wants to be guided by a Marxian criterion. Why, then, do they begin with a rupture, and not with an effort to influence and to assimilate? The question is not at all so imminent. The Party, has plenty of time for an examining, for a careful influencing and a selection. Or have we so much skilled strength that we can so lightheartedly be wasteful of it? But the center of gravity lies, after all, not in the theoretic elaboration of the problems of the new art, but in its poetic expression. What is the situation as regards the artistic expression of Futurism and its gropings and accomplishments? Here there is even less ground for haste and intolerance.

Today, one can hardly deny entirely the Futurist achievements in art, especially in poetry. With very few exceptions, all our present day poetry has been influenced by Futurism, directly or indirectly. One cannot dispute Mayakovsky’s influence on a whole series of proletarian poets. Constructivism has also made significant conquests, though not at all in the direction it had marked out for itself. Articles are continually being published on the complete futility and on the counterrevolutionary character of Futurism between covers made by the hand of the Constructivist. In the most official editions, Futurist poems are published side by side with the most destructive summings up of Futurism. The Proletkult [the organization for proletarian culture] is united to the Futurists by living cords. Gorn is edited at present in a quite clear spirit of Futurism. To be sure, there is no use exaggerating the significance of these facts, because they take place, as in the great majority of all our groups of art, in an upper and for the time being quite superficial stratum, and are very feebly connected with the working masses. But it would be stupid to close one’s eyes to these facts, and to treat Futurism as a charlatan invention of a decadent intelligentsia. Even if tomorrow the fact will be disclosed that the strength of Futurism is declining – and I do not consider this quite impossible – today, at any rate, the strength of Futurism is greater than all those tendencies at whose expense Futurism is spreading.

— Marxists: Literature and Revolution

— reconstructing mayakovsky

Mayakovski La chinche