I am reading through reams of late-1920s communist poetry and easily my favourite title so far is: "To a Lady who Rejected a Poem about Spring as a Petit-Bourgeois Deviation"

The last lines:
"So here's my hat into the air,
Three cheers for your amazing hair,
For coal mines, and for turbines, too,
For steel, the Comintern and you!"
A not exactly graceful (though possibly satirical) title: "Lines Disassociating Myself from Yessenin and Supporting the Otherwise Unfounded Legend that I am a Foremost Proletarian Writer"
An excerpt:
"Goodbye verses of Yessenin
Goodbye literary slop-
You are not the line of Lenin
You are not the line of WAPP

Never shall I moan a
simple lyric from the heart
I'll devote my new corona
to the proletarian art"
The poet was Joseph Freeman, who published much of his revolutionary verse in the New Masses, a stylish journal of the interwar American literary Left.
There's an interesting history behind "Portrait of a German Comrade", a 1926 tribute to the Polish-German revolutionary Elise "Sabo" Ewert, who lived with Freeman in Moscow's Hotel Lux.
Right, here's some more excerpts from the Comintern Tractor Love poem, since everyone's enjoying it:

"There is the turbine and the steel,
The coal mine and the tractor wheel;
Let them continue to be there,
So long as I can see your hair"
"Industry that's running snappy
Is good it it makes mankind happy
But men not only work with steel,
They sometimes even think and feel"

More from Culture

You May Also Like