Zenkevich, Mikhail Aleksandrovich (1886–1973) By Cheloukhina, Svetlana
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Zenkevich was a Russian poet and author, one of the founders of Tsekh poetov [The Guild of Poets] and the Acmeist movement—a representative of its left wing, Adamism. The association of Zenkevich and Narbut with Acmeism has often been referred to as one of a social and rather conventional nature, yet for both poets it was indisputable. Zenkevich’s first book, Dikaia porfira [Savage Purple] (1912), praised by Acmeism’s leader Nikolai Gumilev (1912), as well as by fellow poets Sergei Gorodetsky and Georgy Ivanov (1994), is on a par with Anna Akhmatova’s Vecher [Evening] (1912), Vladimir Narbut’s Alliluiia [Hallelujah] (1912), and Osip Mandelstam’s Kamen’ [Stone] (1913) for its importance to the Acmeist aesthetic.
Zenkevich’s legacy is significant and diverse. He authored twelve books of poetry, two novels, Muzhitskii Sfinks [The Peasant Sphinx] (1928) and Na strezhen’ [To the River Bend] (1994); short prose, dramatic poems—Al’timetr [Altimeter] (1991–1921, 2004) and Triumf aviatsii [The Triumph of Aviation] (1937, unpublished)—translations, and critical articles. He became one of the founders of the Russian 20th-century school of poetic translation and was the longest surviving member of Acmeism.