Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin

(1872 - 1936 / Russia)

Biography of Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin

Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin poet

Mikhail Alekseevich Kuzmin (1872–1936) was a symbolist poet, prose writer, and playwright. Openly gay, he wrote the first celebrations of gay themes in Russian literature, and the first Russian coming-out novel, Wings (1907), in which a young man learns to accept his sexuality, which makes him feel as if he has grown wings. Kuzmin too was a poet who mined his own biography, incorporating its associations and events in his poem-cycles.

As censorship tightened and ideological wars raged in proletarian literature, Kuzmin's diary (1906-1934) chronicled a life lived through sexuality, art and contemplation of the everyday. His finest autobiographical poem cycle, The Trout Breaks through the Ice (published in 1928) demonstrated the muscularity and range of his mature voice, and evoked a reply from Anna Akhmatova, her famous Poem without a Hero.

Mikhail Kuzmin died on March 1, 1936 of pneumonia.

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Artesian Well

In the feathergrass steppe
Sources lie buried,
The thirsty sun knows
Life isn't raspberries.

In barren haymeadows
A child tarries,
Walnut crosier
Outstretched, gold-eyed,

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