T J Binyon

Poetry of Love

Love is the Heart of Everything: Correspondence Between Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lili Brik

By Bengt Jangfeldt (trans. Julian Graffy)

Polygon 282pp £17.95 order from our bookshop

In July 1915 Lili Brik’s younger sister, Elsa – who later married Andre Triolet and emigrated to France, where she became a writer and Aragon’s constant companion brought the twenty-two-year-old futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, huge and ungainly, famous for his orange and black striped blouse and extravagant behaviour, to the Petrograd flat occupied by Lili and her husband Osip. Here, lounging against a doorframe, Mayakovsky read his latest poem, ‘A Cloud in Trousers’. ‘ It was what we had dreamed about for so long. What we were waiting for,’ Lili wrote later. ‘Suddenly the right person was writing in the right way about the right subject.’ Brik immediately decided to publish the poem at his own expense, thus beginning his own literary career: he was to become a critic and theoretician, an editor of Mayakovsky’s work, and a close collaborator with the poet on the journal Lef Mayakovsky, for his part, fell so violently in love

Royal Shakespeare Company


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