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Tbilisi Avant-Garde

Pis’ma: Stikhi [Letters: Verse].

Tbilisi: Tip. Gaz. “Zaria vostoka”, 1927. Octavo (22.8 × 15 cm). Original pictorial wrappers; 30 pp. Cover illustration by Kirill Zdanevich. Very discrete repairs to wrappers, with professional paper restauration; text evenly toned due to stock; still about very good.

First edition of the only collection of poems by Nikolai (Kolau) Andreevich Cherniavskii (1892-1947), a member of the avant-garde futurist group 41 Degrees (41 Gradus). Formed by the poets Aleksei Kruchenykh, Il’ia Zdanevich, and artist Kirill Zdanevich (and including the poet Kara-Darvish and theater director Igor Terent'ev), the group was active in Tbilisi in 1918-1920 and (unlike its predecessor, the "Syndicate of Futurists") was more focused on experiments with trans-sense poetry than on creating explicitly political work. A trained typographer, in this period Cherniavskii experimented with type in his poetry, creating several poems in one by alternating the size and font. Before coming to Tbilisi, Cherniavskii was well received in St. Petersburg literary circles and was friendly with the symbolist poets Konstantin Bal'mont and Aleksandr Blok. His poems were published in literary almanacs such as “In the war year: the poet to the soldier” (St. Petersburg, 1915) alongside Aleksandr Blok, Anna Akhmatova and other prominent poets. Cherniavskii was a native of Moldova but reputably loved Georgia so much as to publish his collection of poems using the Georgian version of his first name. After the dissolution of 41 Degrees, Cherniavskii collected Georgian and Russian folklore and translated from Georgian and French. This volume of poems closes with Cherniavskii’s attempt at the first Russian translation of the “Paris Orgy” by Rimbaud. One of 1000 copies. Not in Getty. Hellyer 70. MoMA 730. KVK and OCLC show copies at Amherst, Harvard, Yale, Stanford and the British Library.

Book ID: P6183

Price: $1,250.00