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 Vasily Kamensky

Born:   April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1884
Deceased:   November 11, 1961

Russian poet-futurist, one of the first Russian pilots


Vasily Kamensky was born into the family of Vasily Filippovich Kamensky, the inspector of gold mines of Count Shuvalov. He drew his first breath in a cabin of a steamships plying on River Kama; the captain of the ship was his grandfather Gavriil Serebrennikov. The future poet spent his childhood in Borovskoe Village in the Ural Region. When the boy was less than 5 years old he lost his both parents and was raised in the family of his aunt Aleksandra Trushchova, his mother’s sister, whose husband — Grigory Semenovich Trushchov — served as the administrator of Lyubimov’s shipping company in Perm.

The boy had to start making his living quite early: in 1900 Kamensky left school and from 1902 to 1906 worked as a clerk in a railway accounts department. In 1904 he started contributing for the newspaper Perm Territory, where his verses and essays were published. In the newspaper he got acquainted with local followers of Carl Marx, who determined his further radical views. At the same time Vasily Kamensky was fond of theater, so he became an actor and toured with his troupe round Russia. Having returned to the Ural, he carried out propaganda work in railway workshops and supervised a strike committee, the activities that brought him to prison. After discharge from prison he travelled to Istanbul and Teheran; impressions of the Near East later found reflection in his writings.

In 1906 he arrived in Moscow. In 1907 he passed an examination for the school-leaving certificate in St.-Petersburg, studied agronomics, and from 1908 under the invitation of the journalist and publisher N. G.Shebuev worked as the assistant to the editor-in-chief of the magazine Vesna, where has got acquainted with distinguished Moscow poets and writers, including the futurists (Burlyuk, who taught him painting, Khlebnikov, and others).

In 1911 Vasily Kamensky went abroad, to Berlin and Paris, to learn piloting, and on the way back he visited London and Vienna. Afterwards he was a pilot for a short time, during which he managed to master the monoplane Blerio XI as one of the first pilots in this country. After an air crash in Chenstokhov on April, 29th, 1912, he lived in the self-made homestead Kamenka situated 40 km away from Perm.

In 1913 the poet moved to Moscow, where he joined the group of cubofuturists and participated in its activities (in particular, in the edition of the collection of verses «Cage of judges»). At that time Kamensky together with Burlyuk and Mayakovsky actively traveled around the country with poetic performances and further on often performed his futuristic works on stage.

The year 1914 saw the publication of his poetic collection Tango with Cows, and his poem Stenka Razin saw the light in 1915 (it was transformed into a play in 1919 and into a novel in 1928.


Vasily Kamensky faced the October revolution with great delight and hopes, just like the majority of other futurists. He carried out cultural and educational work in the Red Army.

In the 1930s he wrote memoirs that were published in 1968.

On April, 19th, 1948 the poet had a stroke and for the last thirteen years of his life was paralyzed and bedridden.

Vasily Kamensky died in Moscow on November, 11th, 1961 and was laid to rest at Novodevichy Cemetery.

One of the streets of Perm was named after Vasily Kamensky.

Memorial House Museum of Vasily Kamensky works in the Troitsa Village of the Perm Region, in the house where the poet lived from 1932-1951.

Tags: Russian literature Russian poets Vasily Kamensky Russian aviators Russian futurists 

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