Russian symbolism reached in Alexander Blok not only its climax but also its crisis. A reaction against its vagueness and mistiness was therefore inevitable. It began soon after 1910 and took, on the whole, three directions. The so-called acmeist group, led by Gumilyov (executed in 1922), Anna Akhmatova, and Sergey Gorodetsky, was all out for concreteness and clarity. The second group consisted of the futurists who, despite such gifted poets as Khlebnikov and Mayakovsky as their leaders, were at first looked upon too much as literary freaks to be taken seriously. More successful was the third group -- that of stylized village poets who, in a way, lined up their poetry to the work of Koltsov and Nekrasov, but with a new method and a new accent. The earlier representative of this trend, Nikolai Klyuyev ( 1887-1926), was still connected with the symbolist school, and so was, for a while, Sergey Esenin ( 1895-1925). It was during the decay of that school that Esenin emerged on its fringes as one of the strongest and most promising young talents.
He on the one hand, and Mayakovsky on the other, are the two dominant figures among the crop of the poets who came into their own during the first decade of the Soviet regime. Yet what a contrast between these two gifted youths, both of whom ended eventually by suicide! While Mayakovsky became
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Publication information: Book title: Russian Writers:Their Lives and Literature. Contributors: Janko Lavrin - Author. Publisher: D. Van Nostrand. Place of publication: Toronto. Publication year: 1954. Page number: 290.
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