Early Years

Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky was born in Bagdadi, Georgia, on July 7th, 1894. His father was a forest ranger, who died of an wound infection in 1907. Though he was just 11 at this time, the events of the 1905 revolution had already begun to shape his life. He and his sister became interested in the Socialist Democratic party (which later split into Bolshevik and Menshevik factions), and in 1906 his sister Lyudmila returned from her studies in Moscow with propaganda posters and revolutionary slogans from the young movement.
By 1908 the family had moved to Moscow, hoping to find better work upon the father's death. It was then that Mayakovsky officially joined the Social Democtrats, being elected to the Moscow Committee at 14 years old. In the following year he would be arrested three times in suspicion of revolutionary activity, being let go for the first two offences. The third time, however, landed him in solitary confinement for 6 months, as he was thought to have been connected with a plot to break female political prisoners out of jail. This period seemed to be a turning point for Mayakovsky- at 15 years old, he was seen as his fellow prisoners as the one who fought with the guards for their needs, causing disturbances as to not show complatency, and it was here where he made his first attempts at poetry.
Upon his release, Mayakovsky decided that he needed to take time and study. He had never had a proper education, and much of what he had learned came from other people, and not from his own understanding. Understanding the problem of his youth, he said «Shake me out of everything I've read, and what's let? The Marxist method. But hadn't that fallen into childish hands? It's easy to use as long as you only deal with he ideas of your own isde. But what happens when you meet the enemy?» Thus, in 1911 he joined the Moscow Art School, studying painting and drawing. It is here that he met David Burliuk, and avant-gardist who would become a defining influence in his life, someone who Mayakovsky called his «real teacher.» Burliuk introduced him to the futurist movement, and together the two formed the group «Gileya» (Гилея), with Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksey Kruchenykh. In 1917 they published their futurisim «manifesto», A Slap In the Face of Public Taste (Пощечна общественному вкусу), which was their call to throw out all past literary traditions, Puskin, Dostoevsky, and the like, and instead find new forms of expression and language to go along with the new and dramatically changing times.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License