[DISCOVERY OF AMERICA] Lektsiia-puteshestvie. Moe “Otkrytie Ameriki” [i.e. Lecture-Voyage. My ‘Discovery of America’].
[Voronezh], 1926. 1 leaf. 5,8x15,8 cm. Minor tear of edge, slightly rubbed, otherwise mint.
Fragile survival of time. Leaflet with a program of Mayakovsky’s performance in the province.
From 1922, Vladimir Mayakovsky toured at least 54 cities of the Soviet Union and traveled abroad nine times, including a voyage to America. His popularity peaked in that decade and every performance was sold-out. However, little was preserved of those reciting sessions.
Local poet V. Korablinov mentioned the Voronezh event in his memoirs: “We – five young Voronezh poets – have been waiting for his arrival for a long time. I don’t remember exactly how we heard about it. When huge sheets of advertising with a single word “MAYAKOVSKY” printed in red ink were pasted all over the city, we weren’t, like hundreds of citizens, amazed: these posters didn’t come as a surprise to us. We knew exactly the day of his arrival and decided to meet Mayakovsky at a station… However, we didn’t manage to meet Mayakovsky at the station: he arrived three hours earlier, not on the train we expected him to take”.
On November 22, 1926, Mayakovsky was to perform in the Large Soviet Theater in Voronezh. It was one of the oldest Russian theaters founded in 1787 and reconstructed in the late 19th century. It was a huge event for Voronezh, people gathered to listen to Mayakovsky’s poetry or just to gaze at this famous and scandalous person.
According to the leaflet, the performance consisted of two parts. Firstly, Mayakovsky recited poems about his voyage. Then, he introduced six new writings, including “To Sergei Yesenin” and “Conversation with a Tax Collector about Poetry”, both composed in 1926. As a routine, Mayakovsky also answered spectators’ questions, whether kind or lashing they were. After the evening, one half of the spectators admired Mayakovsky, the rest called him a cad – there was a hassle between them in a dressing room.
Five young poets asked Mayakovsky to lend them ears. He spent the night listening to young socialist poetry and left Voronezh in the morning.
In all, a valuable ephemera of the epoch.