about the image

The speech bubble says “left, left”, and it is signed “Vladimir Mayakovsky, Prague”, from one of his visits in the 1920s. Edwin Morgan, who translated him into Scots, found the cartoon in New York in the 1960s (the dealer had misread it as “Vladimir Mayakovsky to enemies”) and passed it on to Peter McCarey in Glasgow 30 years later. It’s now in Geneva, gradually fading out, in spite of UV protection.

The Bolshevik abroad, something of a circus act. A lyric marvel, a political disaster.