Vladimir Mayakovsky quotes

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Vladimir Mayakovsky

Birthdate: 7. July 1893
Date of death: 14. April 1930
Other names: Vladimír V. Majakovskij, Vladimir Majakovskij, Vladimir Maiakovski

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky was a Soviet poet, playwright, artist, and actor.

During his early, pre-Revolution period leading into 1917, Mayakovsky became renowned as a prominent figure of the Russian Futurist movement, being among the signers of the Futurist manifesto, A Slap in the Face of Public Taste , and writing such poems as "A Cloud in Trousers" and "Backbone Flute" . Mayakovsky produced a large and diverse body of work during the course of his career: he wrote poems, wrote and directed plays, appeared in films, edited the art journal LEF, and created agitprop posters in support of the Communist Party during the Russian Civil War. Though Mayakovsky's work regularly demonstrated ideological and patriotic support for the ideology of the Communist Party and a strong admiration of Vladimir Lenin, Mayakovsky's relationship with the Soviet state was always complex and often tumultuous. Mayakovsky often found himself engaged in confrontation with the increasing involvement of the Soviet State in cultural censorship and the development of the State doctrine of Socialist realism. Works that contained criticism or satire of aspects of the Soviet system, such as the poem "Talking With the Taxman About Poetry" , and the plays The Bedbug and The Bathhouse , were met with scorn by the Soviet state and literary establishment.

In 1930 Mayakovsky committed suicide. Even after death his relationship with the Soviet state remained unsteady. Though Mayakovsky had previously been harshly criticized by Soviet governmental bodies such as the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers , Premier Joseph Stalin described Mayakovsky after his death as "the best and the most talented poet of our Soviet epoch." Wikipedia

Quotes Vladimir Mayakovsky

„On the pavement
of my trampled soul
the steps of madmen
weave the prints of rude crude words.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"1" (1913); translation from Patricia Blake (ed.) The Bedbug and Selected Poetry (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975) p. 53

„Love's ship has foundered on the rocks of life.
We're quits: stupid to draw up a list
of mutual sorrows, hurts and pains.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

Untitled last poem found after his death; translation from Martin Seymour-Smith Guide to Modern World Literature (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1975) vol. 4, p. 235

„In parade deploying
the armies of my pages,
I shall inspect
the regiments in line.
Heavy as lead,
my verses at attention stand,
ready for death
and for immortal fame.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"At the Top of My Voice" (1929-30); translation from Patricia Blake (ed.) The Bedbug and Selected Poetry (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975) p. 227

„A rhyme's

a barrel of dynamite.
A line is a fuse
that's lit.
The line smoulders,
the rhyme explodes –
and by a stanza
a city
is blown to bits.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"A Conversation with the Inspector of Taxes about Poetry" (1926); translation from Chris Jenks Visual Culture (London: Routledge, 1995) pp. 86-7

„Art must not be concentrated in dead shrines called museums. lt must be spread everywhere – on the streets, in the trams, factories, workshops, and in the workers' homes.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"Shrine or Factory?" (1918); translation from Mikhail Anikst et al. (eds.) Soviet Commercial Design of the Twenties (New York: Abbeville Press, 1987) p. 15

„Love
for us
is no paradise of arbors —
to us
love tells us, humming,
that the stalled motor
of the heart
has started to work
again.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"Letter from Paris to Comrade Kostorov on the Nature of Love" (1928); translation from Patricia Blake (ed.) The Bedbug and Selected Poetry (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975) p. 213

„Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

Attributed to Vladimir Mayakovsky in The Political Psyche (1993) by Andrew Samuels, p. 9; attributed to Bertolt Brecht in Paulo Freire : A Critical Encounter (1993) by Peter McLaren and Peter Leonard, p. 80
Variant translation: Art is not a mirror held up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.
Disputed

„I want to be understood by my country,
but if I fail to be understood –
what then?,
I shall pass through my native land
to one side,
like a shower
of slanting rain.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"Back Home!", first version (1926); translation from Patricia Blake (ed.) The Bedbug and Selected Poetry (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975) p. 36

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„I understand the power and the alarm of words –
Not those that they applaud from theatre-boxes,
but those which make coffins break from bearers
and on their four oak legs walk right away.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

Untitled last poem found after his death; translation from Martin Seymour-Smith Guide to Modern World Literature (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1975) vol. 4, p. 235

„Agitprop
sticks
in my teeth too,
and I'd rather
compose
romances for you –
more profit in it
and more charm.
But I
subdued
myself,
setting my heel
on the throat
of my own song.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"At the Top of My Voice" (1929-30); translation from Patricia Blake (ed.) The Bedbug and Selected Poetry (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975) pp. 223-5

„Tramp squares with rebellious treading!
Up heads! As proud peaks be seen!
In the second flood we are spreading
Every city on earth will be clean.“

—  Vladimir Mayakovsky

"Our March" (1917); translation from C. M. Bowra (ed.) A Book of Russian Verse (London: Macmillan, 1943) p. 125

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