Alexander Vvedensky

Alexander Vvedensky Poems

Vvedensky, the son of a civil servant, studied at the University of St. Petersburg without completing a degree. He began writing poetry in 1920 and by 1923 was thought of as a Futurist. With Daniil Kharms in 1925 he began reciting his poetry at the literary evenings held by the liberal Left Flank group. Vvedensky, Kharms and Nikolai Zabolotsky founded the OBERIU group (Association of Realistic Art) in 1927, teasingly putting forth their own surrealism as something real, in opposition to what they perceived as self-satisfied proletarian realism, which was intolerant of other styles and which grew into the theory and practice of Socialist Realism blessed by Stalin. The Oberiuts defended the right to diversity and experimentation and consequently were “nailed to the pillar of disgrace” by the magazine Smena in 1930 for “protesting against the dictatorship of the proletariat”; their literary appearances were quickly forbidden. Unable to publish their poetry for adults, some of the Oberiuts turned to children’s poetry with the help of Samuel Marshak. Vvedensky published thirty-two books for children.

Vvedensky was arrested in 1932, imprisoned for a short time, and then released. He lived in Kharkov from 1936 to 1941, when he was arrested again. He was killed, as were many prisoners, during the wartime evacuation. His works forgotten for many years, a first collection was published in Germany in 1974, and the first volume of his complete collected works was issued in the United States in 1980.