The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 24, 2008

Love's Bow Has Smashed Against The Daily Grind

Mayakovsky The Mayakovsky poem 'Past One O'Clock' is where Michael Almereyda, editor of Night Wraps the Sky, found the title for the book. He reads it for all of us below, and I want to quote from his introduction to Night Wraps the Sky as a way of setting up the poem:

"Even at this distance--more than seventy-five years after his death and nearly twenty-five years after the collapse of the government he fervently promoted--it remains difficult to account for the phenomenal nature, the sheer outlandishness, of Vladimir Mayakovsky. As unofficial poet laureate of the Russian Revolution--"my revolution," he called it--Mayakovsky had unrivaled authority and glamour, taking on multiple responsibilities and roles--orator, playwright, magazine editor, stage and film actor, poster maker, jingle writer--with a singular mix of self-mockery and martyrdom.

Photographs of the poet--particularly the glowering shaved-head portraits taken by Aleksandr Rodchenko in 1924, when Mayakovsky was thirty-one [ed. note: as you can see on the book's cover to the left]--display a kind of proto-punk ferocity, a still-burning aura of tough-guy tenderness, soulful defiance."

This poem, I think, is an interesting read when paired with that photo, and with the wikipedia summary of his life. Almereyda reads it well, breathing life into a character who has become larger than life.


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Text Messages

Got nothing to say about your post, you really got an awesome blog. Would you mind if i ask you for a link exchange?


Illya Szilak

I've seen a couple of readings organized by Almeryeda around this book. Even better live. I thought you would be interested in the website for a new novel Reconstructing Mayakovsky. The site,
is fun, inventive and interactive. Like the novel, it combines elements of science fiction, poetry, the detective story and historical fiction to tell the story of Mayakovsky in a radically different way.
If you enjoy it, I hope you’ll share it with your friends or on your blog. Thanks.

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