Aesthetic context of Mykhailo Semenko’s futuristic poetry: from «Prelude» to «Excitation» Cover Image

Естетичний контекст футуристичної поезії М. Семенка: від «Prelude» до «Дерзання»
Aesthetic context of Mykhailo Semenko’s futuristic poetry: from «Prelude» to «Excitation»

Author(s): Svitlana Kholodynskaya
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore, Studies of Literature, Aesthetics, Recent History (1900 till today)
Published by: Національна академія керівних кадрів культури і мистецтв
Keywords: Futurism; poetry; aesthetic context; tradition; innovation; experiment;

Summary/Abstract: The process of futuristic poetry formation associated with the creative work of Ukrainian futurism founder Mykhailo Semenko is reconstructed in the article. It is shown that attempts to ground aesthetic and artistic principles of futurism at the beginning of the XX century were apprehended ambiguously by the literary circles of that time. Contemporary minds to the events of 1910-1920s make it possible both to reconstruct the situation in Ukrainian cultural space of that period objectively and appreciate achievements and failures of futurists impartially. The article reveals that futurism ranks the special place among the schools of Ukrainian avant-garde art which make themselves vividly known at the beginning of the XX century. It is caused by some reasons: firstly, it existed rather short period of time – just nearly twenty years; secondly, it was pretty complicated to self-determinate within Italian and Russian models of this school of art; thirdly, in fact, it was ceased by force as most of its participants were repressed in the second half of the 1930s. Historical fate of Ukrainian futurism is coincided with the one of its founder, Mykhailo Semenko (1892–1937), the famous poet and theorist of art. In 1914 he claimed the appearance of ‘futuristic poetry’, absolutely new school in Ukrainian literature, with his collections of poetry “Excitation” and “Quero-futurism”. In 1937 he was executed by shooting, his death put an end to the Ukrainian futurism existence. The author of this paper analyses and evaluates the period of 1913–1914 in Mykhailo Semenko’s creative work when the transition from one system of aesthetic and art values to absolutely new one took place. To the author’s mind, such conversion was quite complicated and even painful both for Semenko and his admirers of that time. That’s why this period needs reconstructing in detail. The start of Mykhailo Semenko’s literary creative work is marked with the publishing his verses “Gift”, “Sin”, “My flower” in the journal “Ukrainian Khata” and his first collection of poems “Prelude” in 1913. During this period the poet joined in the circle of young literary men who collaborate with ‘Ukrainian Khata’. As is known, monthly journal ‘Ukrainian Khata’ came out within the period of 1909–1914 and covered the wide range of problems: from literary to economic. To the author of this paper’s mind, the analysis of Ukrainian futuristic poetry requires not just emphasizing on the events of 1913–1914 років but also reconstructing the literary process going on at that time. Moral and psychological state of young Semenko is reflected through the logical analysis the atmosphere of critics and prosecution accompanying the occurrence of “Prelude”. It was mixed attitude to the poetic debut of Mykhailo Semenko : ‘neoclassicist’ M. Zerov didn’t accept both the collection of poems “Prelude” as a whole and the poems included, he even called the young poet not to write poetry any more; M.Voronoy didn’t perceive the poems from this collection criticizing young poet in a sharp and offensive manner. The year of 1913 was crucial for Mykhailo Semenko. At first, he published the poetic collection “Prelude”, secondly, he experienced the critics of this book from M. Zerov and M. Voronoy, thirdly, he got acquainted with the poetry of Russian futurists, fourthly, he dropped out of Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute where he had been studying for 2 years, fifthly, he was getting aware of the necessity to transform the aesthetic and artistic fundamentals of his own poetry. It was those events that acted as a trigger to change the world-view of Mykhailo Semenko. In the article the author compare the creative work of two poets – M. Semenko and M. Voronogo. Considering the situation ‘poet-critic’, the study concludes that contemporary Ukrainian scholars are trying to smooth over and even idealize the processes in country’s literary space at the beginning of the 20th century as well as the way of relations between different generations of creators. 1914 is considered the date of Ukrainian futurism birth as that was the year when both futuristic manifestos of Mykhailo Semenko and his collection of poems “Excitation” as an example of futuristic likes were published. Unique identity of M. Semenko as a poet is substantially determined by his interest to free verse. Publishing 8-page collection of poems “Excitation”, Семенко used the full advantage of vers libre. In conclusion, the author admits: firstly, the crucial 1914 was the year of Ukrainian futuristic poetry formation; secondly, emotional and sentimental orientation of Semenko’s poetry experienced fundamental transformation on account of new themes and new aesthetic and figurative means; thirdly, the collection of poems “Excitation” should be considered as the first attempt to frame the Ukrainian model of futurism; fourthly, Ukrainian futurism is of not only experimental character but also obtains such features as dynamism, roughness, shock, declarative nature etc.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 34
  • Page Range: 251-260
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Ukrainian