Alexander Tinyakov (1886-1934)

The Russian poète maudit Alexander Tinyakov (1886-1934), who ended his days as a professional beggar on the streets of Leningrad, left behind a handful of poems that are no less shocking, no less bracingly irreverent today than they were a century ago. Bit by bit, with spit and baling wire, I’m building up a little essay on the man. In the meantime, I offer you a taste of his unsavory work in my translation:

How blessed to be a gob of spit
racing down a dirty gutter —
I can hug a stubbed-out cig,
find a piece of fluff to cuddle.

Say they spat me out in fury,
in a moment of despair —
skies are clear, I’ve got no worries,
breezes fill me with good cheer.

I may hunger for the freedom
of the river’s blue expanse,
but for now I’ve got the pleasure
of this dirty gutter dance.


Любо мне, плевку-плевочку,
По канавке грязной мчаться,
То к окурку, то к пушинке
Скользким боком прижиматься.

Пусть с печалью или с гневом
Человеком был я плюнут,
Небо ясно, ветры свежи,
Ветры радость в меня вдунут.

В голубом речном просторе
С волей жажду я обняться,
А пока мне любо – быстро
По канавке грязной мчаться.



5 thoughts on “Alexander Tinyakov (1886-1934)

    1. So glad to hear from another Tinyakov fan, Steve! I’d love to put together a chapbook of his best poems, but I have no concrete plans to do so at the moment.


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