Allen Ginsberg (w/ Leica), Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky, dining near Chelsea Hotel, where Voznesensky often stayed in Arthur Miller's room. May 26, l994. Photograph by Gordon Ball. Copyright Gordon Ball.
Of all the stories sent to Lovemarks.com over the past few weeks, these two were the most emotionally compelling (not to mention the most tangential!). Lovemarks was launched in Russia in 2006 -- talk about a country full of mystery, sensuality, and intimacy. Andrei Voznesensky was a poet who filled stadiums. This one is for the writers among us. Thanks Anita and Elizabeth!
Here’s Anita’s Lovemark nomination:
Here’s Anita’s Lovemark nomination:
In 1983 Voznesensky came to Toronto to recite his poetry at a Harbourfront Hall. I had foreseen that the hall would be packed and had gotten tickets way in advance and I sat in the front row listening to the roll of the Russian language from the poet himself and the translator's voice coming to my favorite poems. I was also amazed because I had brought a camera and the poet himself motioned to me whenever he felt I should flash that in front of him as I sat in the first row. He wore an ascot as he was at his recitations always attired but with a poetic differentiation. I awaited the poems from Antiworlds and I realized that this was Russia's beatnik poet and that probably I would never see him up close again in my lifetime. His poetry was the epitome of all that was and is progressive in thought and word. It prompts forward and not back by the ingenious choice of phraseology and a provocative juxtaposition. Voznesensky was never a facile poet to decipher because he was so visionary. As Yevtushenko said of him he was a 'beacon of light' that has been extinguished. He was a Lovemark for being the first modern Russian poet to appear in American Vogue and attempting to bring Russian poetry to a larger audience. Brilliant themes and words to define those poetic inspirations so definitively written from the soul. Dear Andrei I know that legions of Byzantine angels weep tears of silver as you have left behind your audience enthralled each by the memories of your thousands of syllables. But the time had come to depart and you our bongo drum Lovemark would not have wanted to be late. Gone but not forgotten, your poetry like that of Neruda's, your inspiration will live forever. For that is the Lovemarks journey to the Anti Worlds and the Triangular Pear. Many thanks for all the insightful joy and the delight you made us proprietors of. Ave Atque Vale
And here’s Elizabeth’s:
When I first read Vogue and an article on the Russian poet Voznesensky I immediately read Anti Worlds and realized what a monumental breakthrough the book was for the sheer reactions of the poet's perceptions to his surrounding world. His transposition of imaginative themes into colorfully pragmatic ones was without parallel. Voz furnished by analogy a table of multiple equivalents in poetic perceptions and verse. This verse was the most unusual written in the twentieth century that had any cohesion. Andrei was a progressive thinker and came often to various places in the world where he would recite his poetry to packed auditoriums and halls. His turtleneck sweater became immortalized as he established his new aesthetic era. His poetry is progressive and provocative and he left the world alone earlier this month in his beloved Moscow without fanfare. Only the echo of his spoken dithyramb lives on forever. Andrei Voznesenky underscores the rise of subjective and free poetry that left the residuals of his often experimental poetry in the souls of his readers. Andrei Voznesensky was the greatest of poets because he taught us that Poetry never lies. For this he is a Lovemark who also taught us that without force but with his fountain pen the world can be transformed. May that final journey be as wonderful as your colorful life. Many kind thanks.