The Russians have a passion for poetry ... 

Since the works of Russian avant-garde of 1910s - 1920s poetry was an essential part of our life. It was not just a kind of art, it was a way of living. After the twentieths free self-expression was prohibited by officials and most of aesthetic phenomena moved to the underground. The situation was ambivalent, people lived in two lives: external and hidden. Poor, linear external life co-exists with rich, colourful and very diverse hidden life, which was based on poetry and art. In the 50s poetry became a very wide-spread phenomenon. People who never wrote a poem, tried to do it. Poets, artists, writers joined together for intercommunication.

The impossibility of publishing leads to the self-publishing ("samizdat"). Poets type several copies of their works on the typewriter and give them to friends. Those who like poems can re-type it again. Publishing was an essential part of the creative process, that's why most of poets experimented with different materials. There were handwritten books, painted books, books on the glass, on the fabric...

Papirus book      Picture of a handwritten book     

 Handwritten book 

Writing was a kind of performance, an aesthetic action. The word must "walked and fired". New meanings, new images, new language were to be born out of such performances. Many people took part in this process. The value of poetic work shifts from the work itself to the process of self-expression (if you say "this work is bad" that means you want to prohibit our freedom), though there were lots of talented poets and artists among actors.

Next window