what a poet
and the clear water is thick
with bloody blows on its head.
I embraced a cloud
But when I soared
--Frank O'Hara, "Mayakovsky" (1954)
Mayakovsky's is one of the most compelling voices in twentieth-century Russian poetry. Born in 1893, he joined the Futurist movement in 1912 and soon established himself as one of Russia's major poets. In 1917, he rallied to the Russian Revolution and remained the indisputable leader of its artistic avant-garde until his suicide in 1930.
Many of the poems in this book are translated for the first time into English. Accompanying the poems are rare drawings and lithographs by Mayakovsky and his circle, found in private collections of futurist books.