Poet and citizen Vladimir Mayakovsky - in electronic rarities of the Presidential Library

19 July 2017

July 19, 2017 marks the 124th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky. A selection of electronic materials from the Presidential Library fund is dedicated to one of the most powerful and original poets of the 20th century: apart from digitized lifetime and later editions of the writer's works, there are also memoirs, commentaries of his contemporaries along with some abstracts of research work examining various aspects of his writings.

The poet-tribune Vladimir Mayakovsky always actively expressed his civic position in the turbulent years of social change. "They say, Mayakovsky, you know, is a poet, so let him sit on his poetic bench... I'm not just a poet, but first of all I put my pen in the service of today's hour, the current reality..." - V. O. Perstov quotes the words of the writer in his work "Mayakovsky-patriot", published in 1941.

Partly owing to this position, today Mayakovsky is well known not only as a poet, but also as the author of the first Soviet advertising posters. V. O. Pertsov notes the writer's aspiration to help the young republic and its residents by any means: "...he took up a lot and really did not disdain any hard work: he wrote texts to sanitary posters about the benefits of boiled water, rhymed slogans for the "Trade Union Week" and for the grain procurement campaign, and most of all - on specific examples, in fables and four-line popular couplets, taught the worker and peasant to be a brave soldier of the Red Army, in order to defend their socialist native land with a weapon."

In the preface to the publication of the Mayakovsky play "The Bedbug" in 1974, the director of the Moscow Theater of Satire, People's Artist of the RSFSR Valentin Pluchek states: "Appealing to "comrades descendants," Vladimir Mayakovsky was sure that his poem "will break through hard years and will be weighty,tough, visibly." A visible word for a poet is not only its printed outline. Mayakovsky, an artist who created thousands of drawings-posters of political "Windows of the ROSTA", designed together with the other artist A. Rodchenko a lot of advertising posters and signage, well understood a real meaning of the word. Poetic metaphors can be expressed besides in sound, also in the visual image."

The active civic position of the writer and the role he assigns to poetry are reflected in the book entitled "Three speeches" of 1931 from the Presidential Library fund: "In all his speeches, Mayakovsky fights for the proletarian class orientation in matters of art, for treating poetry as a weapon of struggle; all the time he emphasizes that the most important thing for literature is "to be an active fighter, an active worker on the front of our socialist construction." Mayakovsky himself said: "It is very difficult to conduct the struggle that I want to conduct, the work of bringing together the working class with a great poetry - poetry, done really, without hack-work, without intentional lowering its significance."

"Vladimir Mayakovsky is a poet of a huge scale that does not fit into the national framework, with every line approving the same proclaimed "world without borders," according to an author of one of the scientific writings dedicated to the writer's work. Rare sources of the Presidential Library help a reader to reveal the scale of his personality, to see a alive person in a transitional period for his country, yet remaining in an active civic position, making ideological and moral choices and creating incredible literary works of such power and might.