Kuzmin Mikhail Alekseevich (1875 – 1936), poet, prose writer, playwright.
He was born on September 23 (October 6) in Yaroslavl in a noble family, adhering to the Old Believer faith. Childhood years passed in Saratov, he was brought up in the traditions of the Old Believer household religiousness and the feeling of a lively connection with the church-national culture was preserved forever. But there were also French roots in his family.
From 1885 he lived in Petersburg, studied at the gymnasium, then entered the conservatory in composition class, was a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov, but did not graduate from the Conservatoire by illness.
During these years he travels extensively in Italy, Egypt and other countries. He also travels along the Old Believers’ villages in the north of Russia. Both those and other impressions will later be reflected in his mirovidenii and creativity.
In literature he came relatively late. He published his poems in the “Green Collection of Poems and Prose”, and in 1906 – published in the largest symbolist magazine “Libra” poems from later famous “Alexandrian songs,” attracted the attention of M. Voloshin. Kuzmin was ranked as symbolism, then as acmeism. In 1910 he wrote his programmatic article “On Beautiful Clarity: Notes in Prose”, in which he declared the “Apollonian” concept of art with the inherent requirements of harmony, clarity, logic, purity of style and rigor of form. Working in poetry, prose and drama, Kuzmin invariably followed these requirements, which goes back to Pushkin’s tradition. In 1907 he wrote the novel “Wings”, which created him an odious reputation for “the poet... of sexual perversion, and the confiscated collection of dramatic works “Three Pieces”. In 1908 he published a collection of poems – “Networks”.
In the 1910s he paid much attention to the historical “stylization” of novels on modern themes (novels “Floating-traveling”, “Quiet guard”, the novella “Dreamers”, “The deceased in the house”, dozens of stories). In August 1912 the second book of poems “Autumn Lakes” was published, the third part of which was “Spiritual Poems” and “Feasts of the Blessed Virgin.” Then follows the collections of poems “Leader” (1915), “Non-Western evenings” (1921). The collection of “Parabola”, including verses 1921 – 22, was released in Berlin. The last collection of poems “Trout Breaks the Ice” appeared in Leningrad in 1929. Soviet criticism bypassed her silence.
In 1915 he published Military Tales, in 1919 he published the novel The Miraculous Life of Joseph Balsamo,
After the revolution, Kuzmin remains in St. Petersburg, keeping away from political events. Since 1924 he is gradually being forced out of literary life. In his unpublished poems there appeared two new themes: about forgiveness and hope. Around the master of the poetry of the Silver Age, now beginner translators and philologists were grouped, who preserved a grateful memory of him.
After 1929, not a single book appeared in the press, he was engaged in translations from Boccaccio, Apuleius, Shakespeare, wrote on literature, theater, and painting.
M. Kuzmin died in poverty on March 3, 1936 in Leningrad. He was buried at Volkov cemetery.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.