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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mayakovsky's 120th Birthday

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© RIA Novosti The Moscow News / Joy Neumeyer

Moscow marks 120th anniversary of poet Vladimir Mayakovsky

by Joy Neumeyer at 19/07/2013 16:50
Today Moscow is marking the 120th anniversary of Futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky with poetry readings, walking tours and even Georgian polyphonic singing.
The festivities began at 11 a.m., when a small group of admirers laid flowers at Mayakovsky's grave in Novodevichy Cemetery, and continued by the statue of the poet on Mayakovskaya Ploshchad. A crowd of around two dozen people, divided evenly between over-70 stalwarts and excited teenagers, gathered to hear poet Yevgeny Rein read two of his own works dedicated to Mayakovsky, followed by the winners of a youth competition staged by the Mayakovsky Museum proclaiming some of the poet's most famous lines.
In an unusual interlude, dancers gyrated to techno music in costumes designed by Suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich for the Futurist opera "Victory over the Sun." A large black-and-yellow sculpture representing the letter "Ya," standing just to the right of the Mayakovsky monument, paid homage to Mayakovsky's poem of the same name.
Born in Georgia on July 19, 1893, Mayakovsky rose to become the voice of the Bolshevik revolution, as well as the co-creator of the progressive journal "LEF" and the author of numerous slogans for propaganda posters and ads. He shot himself in his Moscow apartment at the age of 36, a tragedy some claim was arranged by the state.
After a set of guided tours this afternoon around spots connected with the poet, the events will continue this evening at the Mayakovsky Museum at Lubyanskaya Ploshchad with live music and more readings. At 7:30 p.m., the Union of Georgians in Russia will perform dances and poetry in Georgian. The commemorations will conclude at 10:40 p.m. with a reading by actor Anatoly Bely of Mayakovsky's "I Love."

And could you?

I suddenly smeared the weekday map

splashing paint from a glass;

On a plate of aspic

I revealed

the ocean's slanted cheek.

On the scales of a tin fish

I read the summons of new lips.

And you

could you perform

a nocturne on a drainpipe flute?


Click here to read Mayakovsky's 1913 poem "And could you?" in both English and Russian, as well as audio of a reading by the author.

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