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Have you seena dog lick the hand that thrashed it?!The five stars are for the poetry. the play is a satire which endures because of its all too human kernel. The verse is loud, a clamoring. Metallic. I appreciate a verb like shock in this instance. Current is also a valuable word when considering these riveting lines of Mayakovsky. Seeking council the other day I went to my Director--who sighed from over steaming bowl of noodles and said, No wisdom. She could use some Mayakovsky about now. My cr...
"Poetry is what's lost in translation," yadda yadda, but Mayakovsky's English effigy is compelling nonetheless. A high-school teacher assigned "A Cloud in Trousers" - out of Koch's Words on the Wind anthology - and I was obsessed. This book was a dogearred angsty missal. I still love his wacky, unexpected, collage-like imagery, his strangely tender semaphore speech (that's my attempt to get around "intimate yell," James Schulyer's unbeatable description). Mayakovsky's gruff, Rodchenko-posed imag...
I love to watch children dying.Do you note, behind protruding nostalgia,the shadowy billow of laughter's surf?But I -in the reading room of the streets -have leafed so often through the volume of the coffin.Midnightwith sodden hands has fingeredmeand the battered paling,and the crazy cathedral gallopedin drops of downpour upon the cupola's bald pate.I have seen Christ escape from an icon,and the slush tearfully kissthe wind-swept fringe of his tunic.At bricks I bawl,thrusting the dagger of despe...
Mayakovsy's poems are filled with depressing lines, like, "I love to see children die..." When I first read this line in Russian, I thought I had the second verb wrong. Nope. I sure hope I'm missing his irony, but I'm happy to miss it. His verse is self-absorbed, depressing and narrow: so he'd make a great American poet, the male equivalent of Sylvia Plath, except he didn't plan to kill his kids. But the poem I cite suggests he would have, had he the chance. He visited America in 1925, and wrote...
I only read The Bedbug out of this collection, and it was surprisingly not too bad. I rather enjoyed the satire of the second half, and there were some pretty great lines. The first half however, I'm still trying to figure what it was about. *shrugs* I had zero hopes for this play, and it actually afforded me some mild enjoyment in the end. Let's see if I can actually remember any of it for my midterm exam later today though ;)
For me this is the gold standard for Mayakovsky in english (second perhaps being Jack Hirschman's limited renderings in Electric Iron). This was the first book I dug out of the Hunter college library of the poet's after hearing a memorable line a friend of mine stumbled across, and I carried it with me in its tough little university binding in my coat pocket for what felt like months, reading it all over NYC, on the street seated on the curb, in the park, in the subway, on the bridge, over and o...
Read "Conversation with a Tax Collector About Poetry"
I haven't read all of the poetry here, but I read the Bedbug and some of the poetry. Mayakovsky is a talented poet, and this collection is a fascinating demonstration of his movement from official pro-Soviet poet writing explicitly for the regime in the early 1920s to his satirization and potential opposition to the Soviet state in the Bedbug, which he wrote later. The Bedbug is very funny, and the poetry is strange and beautiful, in both English and Russian. Would recommend!
This is an excellent introduction to Mayakovsky's work. I cannot speak to the translations per say, but it is clear that even if the subtle internal rhymes of the lyrical poems, their play with language and innovative use of Russian neologisms, are all but entirely lost, the translators allowed Mayakovsky's striking and creatively original imagery to shine through with clarity. Indeed, these futurist poems are remarkable for their sharp break with tradition and their power in expressing Mayakovs...
Mayakovsky opened my eyes, ears, nose, ears - myself. Having discovered his poetry, in particular, equals to having discovered another planet with living organisms. I felt smashed in the face on nearly every page, some of the lines burnt my eyes (or tongue if I read them aloud) and I felt alive with the lines elevating my pulse, my blood pressure, and reviving a weary body and encouraging a vivid mind to continue a losing game - exactly because books and writers like Mayakovsky existed. Let his
I honestly had a better translation of the bedbug copied from an alternate source. Mayakovsky is the "loneliest eye on the way to the blind!" If there were the monarch butterfly in the socialist cannon, he is surely a cloud in trousers. As Evgeny Zamyatov says with paraphrased: Mayakovsky was the Futurists and he was one of the great poets. If there was no Mayakovsky, the futurists are nothing and the world has lost one of the greatest.
Mayakovsky is notoriously difficult to translate, so I have little to say of the translation. Many older compilations suffer from an excessive focus on his Soviet themed odes to Lenin and the revolution. This book has an entirely appropriate focus on his lyric poetry and his love poems. For those interested in avant garde literature or in Russian poetry in the 20th century, this is a great read.
The great Russian futurist many people never really have ever read or heard of. Surreal, sarcastic, biting, self deprecating, and tender at times. A lot of his later work reads like Bolshevik propaganda, but when he hits his stride, like in "A Cloud In Trousers," he's simply amazing.
He had that fire I look for and rarely find. I like my poetry hot, so hot the flames leap from the page. God. Yes.
My favorite poem in this collection is "The Cloud in Trousers."
I laughed ("Conversations with a Tax Collector about Poetry"). I cried (the "You" segment of "I Love"). I wanted to go back to New York ("Brooklyn Bridge").
I came for the play, The Bedbug, but it’s the poetry that blew me away. You’ll be saved me blathering on at length about it, because I don’t know enough about poetry to turn this into an endless review. I just know that the imagery and word power of the poems - in translation, mind you - grabbed hold of me and took off. I got angry, I got pained, I stopped many times on a certain line to jaw-drop at the sublime as it hit the brain cells. Sadly, this author left us too soon, and to me it seems th...
I think the translations here might be a bit dogshit. Immensely underwhelming considering Mayakovskys reputation. Theres an almost juvenile sense of imagery and phrasing that runs through these poems that I frankly didn't vibe with. Playful and energetic: yes. Groundbreaking: nae. I guess coming down from the high of Lorca everything seems diminished. Alas and onwards comrades!
Mayakovsky’s poetry reads like a precursor of the Beats, or a bridge between Whitman and the Beats. Had Ginsberg read him? I don’t know. The play (The Bedbug) is a short romp, a satiric look at both the Soviet Union of 1928 and am imagined future socialist world.
I don't recall which poem I came across that convinced me to buy this book, but I don't think it was more than a sentence long. mayakovsky really packs a punch, and it's often both sad and humorous. really loved the soviet sci-fi nature of the play and it would be amazing to see on stage
Really beautiful at times and not like much else. Very angry. The Bedbug was fun
I really liked some of the poems, others just weren't for me. I rounded up since I didn't finish the play and can't really make an honest comment on it.
This is my favorite collection of Mayakovsky's poems. I think it has the maddest aesthetic on the actual page which really matches his tone
what a f**king genius
A superb introduction to Mayakovsky. The poems are joyfully arrogant; lively and full of love for language, and The Bedbug is a masterpiece of surreal absurdism.
Great stuff. Well, the poetry anyhow.
90 + years on and translated from Russian to English and his writing is still pretty great.
would have been five stars if not for the bedbug at the end. mayakovsky says proletariat a lot. must check the definition of that word. cloud in trousers, as always, is a revelation. so fierce and full of vitality. another inspiration.
I enjoyed this. There were quite a few poems, parts or lines I didn't get meaning from or saw in a negative light ("I love to watch children dying." I really don't know what to think about the 'A Few Words About...' poems) but overall the images and the words Mayakovsky used were powerful and often amusing. My favourite poem was 'Conversation with a Tax Collector about Poetry' and a few of my favourite parts are below; All right, marry then.So what.I can take it.As you see, I'm calm!Like the pul...
Some really intense poetry that's almost visual. Um, let's see...it's the Russian Revolution and love gone cosmically wrong seen throught the crazy, fatalistic, angst-riddled eyes of Mayakovsky (he was a big fan of hyperbole). His experiments with rhythm and spacing and lenght of lines are pretty creative. And there's the original Russian versions right across from the English translation. But the version of the slapstick yet tragic Bedbug while great is highly edited from the original which mak...