Pro-peace poem


This 6 Match 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Sen. Chris Murphy: The U.S. Is Exporting Violence & Killing Civilians in Illegal War in Yemen

On Capitol Hill, three U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would force Congress to vote for the first time on whether to continue U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The measure was introduced by Republican Mike Lee, Democrat Chris Murphy and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who noted that the Constitution gives Congress—and not the president—the power to declare war. For more, we speak with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

From the blog of Rick Rozoff, this poem by 19th century British author William Stokes:

The peace of nations to destroy

To the Genius of War As Embodied in the Warrior

Forbear, thou man of blood, forbear,
To claim a birth Divine;
No Son of Heaven can be the heir
Of passions such as thine.

Thy boasted trade, thy sole employ,
Is death to deal around
;
The Peace of nations to destroy,
Wherever man is found.

The wide-spread earth, through all her lands,
Has mourned thy kindred tread;
And widows raise their pray’rful hands,
For vengeance on thy head.

In Europe’s polished courts, the seeds
Of hatred thou hast sown
;
And yonder Southern island bleeds
With sorrows all thine own.

In thronging East, or far-spread West,
Or where the Niger rolls;
Thy murd’rous train has proved the pest
And curse, of human souls.

No sex, no nation, and no clime,
Has ‘scap’d thy cruel rage;
Thy plague has flow’d throughout all time,
And spread through every age.

And shall that plague, with curses rife,
Pass down to other times;
And spread around the seeds of strife,
To poison other climes?

Shall men be found for wealth or gain,
To doom a world to woe?
And all that earth can feel of pain,
Give earth that all to know?

Learn, then, man to murder given,
Note thou the mandate well;
“The work of Peace came down from heaven,
The work of War from hell.”

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Poetry on Grenfell disaster and Scottish women


This video from Britain says about itself:

12 May 2018

Amidst new claims of Tory social cleansing in one of Britain’s richest neighbourhoods – activist poet Potent Whisper performs from his new book “The Rhyming Guide to Grenfell Britain“!

By Andy Croft in Britain:

Monday, May 14, 2018

21st century poetry with Andy Croft

Grenfell: a potent whisper of all that’s wrong in Britain

POTENT WHISPER is a Brixton-based rapper and political grime artist. His first book The Rhyming Guide to Grenfell Britain (Dog Section Press, £7) includes his Rhyming Guide to NHS Privatisation, a spoken-word video which has received over 170,000 views since it was released by Momentum.

This poetry video is called The Rhyming Guide to NHS Privatisation by Potent Whisper.

For the writer, the Grenfell Tower fire was not an accident. “The deaths at Grenfell were forewarned, preventable and, he argues, deliberate, which makes each death “an emblematic embodiment” of all that is wrong with Britain:

“What happened at Grenfell, that was an act of war/The murder of innocent people who died because they’re poor/Hundreds of deaths and you can bet that there’s be more/So if you think that you survived it, I wouldn’t be so sure…”

Written in loose rhyming couplets, sometimes conversational, sometimes hectoring, the book takes issue with the brazen dishonesty of so much contemporary political “common sense”, including austerity (“How can people work so hard and still not be surviving?”), nuclear deterrence (“Try and invest money into lives instead of Trident/Try jobs, try housing, try education/Try welfare, not warfare… Put Trident on trial and try choosing a future.”)

He declares: ”The more I see the more it seems we need a revolution” In The Rhyming Guide to Voting:

“I always said that, I wouldn’t vote if they paid me/That’s what I said before Corbyn said he’d pay me/£10 per hour, when I’m at work. Minimum…/Many on the left would say that he’s the best we’ve had/That he’s the best we’ve got now, that he’s the best we’ll have/He murked the game and worked his way further than ever expected/And now he’s an inch from getting elected…’

Although Gerda Stevenson is a hugely distinguished actor, director, musician and playwright, her poetry is less well-known. Her second collection Quines: Poems in Tribute to Women of Scotland (Luath, £9.99) will surely change that.

It’s a book of huge ambition and radical purpose, a kind of history of Scotland told through the lives of almost 70 women, from the Gaelic warrior princess Sgathach to Tessa Ransford, the founder of the Scottish Poetry Library in the 21st century.

It’s a collection of snapshots and historical vignettes, scenes from great lives — some famous, some forgotten — and all are extraordinary. Artists, doctors, missionaries, politicians, writers and scientists, as well as the team that beat England in 1881 in the first recorded women’s international football match (“The wind was against us — but wasn’t it ever?”), all speak to us in their own voices.

Among them are Jennie Lee, Moira Shearer, the Duchess of Atholl, novelist Nan Shepherd, the first woman to appear on a Scottish banknote, film-maker Margaret Tait, Williamina Fleming, who discovered the Horsehead Nebula, and Jane Haining, the only Scot to be honoured for giving her life for Jews during the Holocaust.

And there is a long sequence about Helen Crawfurd, suffragette, pacifist and foundation member of the Communist Party.

“The toil of oil and soot-black shipbuilders,/traipsing home at dusk to bow-legged bairns … the whole world is theirs by right … Here in the Second City of the Empire,/where a fanfared judge steps from his carriage/at the High Court, our ranks are ready for his bailiffs …’

And this is Helen Macfarlane, who first translated The Communist Manifesto into English.

“I’ve always seen Red … Red raw my sisters’ eyes — how they cried/when the mills went down … Red the robin’s breast on a winter branch … And red, red my thoughts that flow with His tidings,/onto page after page: how can we leave a single soul to die/by inches in squalid lanes and gutters, making slop shirts/at tuppence apiece, while another is swathed in silk?”

Poet Benjamin Zephaniah on Windrush scandal, anarchism and more


This British TV video says about itself:

Benjamin Zephaniah on Windrush, anarchism and his time in North Korea

2 May 2018

Poet, writer and activist Benjamin Zephaniah talks to Krishnan Guru-Murthy about the Windrush scandal, how the political system should be torn down and why he spends so much time in China.

The Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ sees at least 1,000 skilled migrants wrongly facing deportation: here.

British police forces ‘handing crime victims to Home Office as immigration suspects’: here.

63 wrongful deportations being investigated, Home Office admits. Windrush scandal grows as activist Zita Holbourne says the number could be far higher: here.

Benjamin Zephaniah, other poetry in England


This 2007 video says about itself:

Benjamin Zephaniah Talking Turkeys

Benjamin at Hay book festival.

By Peter Mason in Britain:

Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: Poetic licence to thrill

Benjamin Zephaniah‘s excellent autobiography allows him time and space to take stock of a hugely engaging life, says PETER MASON

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah

(Simon & Schuster, £20)

POET, playwright, novel writer, children’s author — now we can add autobiographical skills to Benjamin Zephaniah‘s list of writing attributes.

This is a beautifully penned and highly entertaining account of an intriguing life, opening us up not just to Zephaniah‘s story but to a wide range of topics arising out of it, from death and racism to co-operativism and male infertility.

All are tackled with down-to-earth honesty and insight, not to mention an element of gentle humour and self-effacement, intermingled with a certain amount of justifiable pride at a life characterised not just by radical intent but by radical action too.

As you might expect from someone whose first love is poetry, the words are carefully wrought. Almost imperceptibly, the language changes from the childlike phrasing used to describe Zephaniah’s tough early years in Birmingham where he ran, with his mum, from a physically abusive father through to a more confident voice as he shows how he switched from the world of crime into a new and more productive world of dub poetry.

There is politics aplenty, for Zephaniah is a political man to his bones. But nothing is rammed down the reader’s throat and two of the most important touchstones of his life — veganism and rastafarianism — are mentioned almost in passing and never in any preachy kind of fashion.

On the other hand, it’s not difficult to discern where Zephaniah is coming from. Though a man of peace, he is rarely squeamish about the need to meet force with force or to take action to show the authorities that enough is enough, as he hints that he did in the context of the Brixton riots of the 1980s.

Still an angry man with a punk sensibility, identifying, he says, most easily with anarchism, he observes that, “when I see what people have to put up with from their governments, I’m surprised they don’t rise up more often.”

As with the best of autobiographies, however, the emphasis is on good storytelling and the political messages are rarely overpowering. Instead they filter through as Zephaniah tells his tales.

From his early days in Brum to the more relaxed rural existence in Lincolnshire of his later years, he has much to reflect upon and much to tell and there are a number of moving moments in this book, one especially in relation to the despair he felt after divorce.

In his introduction, Zephaniah says: “I hate autobiographies, they’re so fake.” If true, then with this one he has done something to break the mould.

This 2016 video is called The pleasure of poetic pattern – David Silverstein.

By Mike Quille in England:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Poetry Review: Collective visions of a better world

MIKE QUILLE reports on an inspiring Teesside International Poetry Festival

Middlesbrough-born James Cook set sail 250 years ago on one of history’s iconic imperialist journeys, a voyage which extended scientific, geographical and cultural knowledge of other peoples.

It also facilitated the violent economic exploitation of the globe, the political domination of those people and massive cultural theft and appropriation by Britain’s ruling class.

Working men and women in Middlesbrough, which has the most ethnically diverse population in the north east, never benefited very much from Britain’s imperialist project. It is now one of the most economically and socially deprived places in the region.

In this environment of deindustrialisation, poverty and dispossession, the Teesside International Poetry Festival which ran in venues across Middlesbrough, showcased a phenomenal variety of examples of artistic, social and political engagement from countries around the world as well as from communities in the north east.

The sheer internationalism of the event was astounding. Poets came to read and perform their poetry from Iraq, Finland, Iceland, Nigeria, Botswana, Poland, Russia, India and elsewhere.

Lev Rubinstein

And the variety of work on offer was equally astonishing, from the Russian conceptual poetry of Lev Rubinstein (pictured), with its roots in the wonderful flowering of conceptual arts in the revolutionary Soviet Union of the 1920s, to Peter Adegbie’s and Eric Motswasale’s gloriously entertaining praise-poetry from Nigeria and Botswana, interrogating the rapacious and ongoing effects of European colonialism on language and people.

Over the course of four days the festival shaped itself into a living collage of poetics, gradually building a conversational echo chamber of voices and languages that was stimulating and energising.

Diversity was expressed and celebrated through the wide range of events, including readings, cabarets, book launches and workshops. There was the launch of a book of poems by Teesside primary schoolchildren, an Urdu-Punjabi mushaira, poetic gathering, and poetry workshops in local colleges.

What binds this eclectic and multicultural festival together is its gentle, insistent and necessarily subversive internationalism, its celebration of poetry as a tool of resistance, protest and imagining alternatives to the violent night of imperialism, chauvinism and political and cultural oppression.

It’s a suggestive but quietly powerful demonstration of poetry as a fundamentally social art, which makes common cause between communities worldwide and enables a collective imagining of a better world.

Somali poetess jailed for poetry


This 2017 video is about Somali poetess Nacima Qorane reading a poem.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Somaliland: Three-year jail sentence for poet who read unity poem

POET Nacima Qorane has been jailed for three years in Somaliland after being found guilty of contempt for reading a unity poem.

She received the sentence in the self-declared republic after she called for Somaliland and Somalia to be reunited.

Prosecutors said she had referred to Somaliland as “a region” and “insulted and defamed its government” by reading the poem in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The court found that she had brought the state into contempt.

Home to about 4 million people, the area in the north-west of Somalia was formerly a British protectorate, uniting with the former Italian colony in 1960 to form the Somali Republic. It declared its independence in 1991 following a bitter civil war but is not recognised internationally, being seen as an autonomous region of the country.

In February Somaliland allowed the United Arab Emirates to open a military base to launch strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the country’s ongoing civil war.

Ms Qorane was arrested in January after returning from the Somali capital and rights groups have raised concerns over her treatment.

A number of artists and reporters have been sentenced for similar offences as Somaliland’s government cracks down on opposition voices and press freedom.

Journalists Mohamed Abdilaahi Dabshid and Ahmed Dirie Liltire were sentenced to two years in prison in January for reporting that Ethiopian militants were training in Somaliland. Others have received jail terms for spreading so-called false news.

Somaliland’s Human Rights Centre called for the immediate release of Ms Qorane yesterday and said it was “very concerned” about her conviction.

Guleid Ahmed Jama said: “Freedom of expression is enshrined and protected by the constitution of Somaliland. We urge the government of Somaliland to respect its own constitution.”

British Labourite poet banned by Blairites for satiric Blair poems


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Kevin Higgins – An Introduction with two poems from Revival

Launch of the Revival Poetry Journal issue 7, recorded in The Whitehouse, O’Connell St., Limerick, on Wednesday the 9th April 2008.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain, Tuesday, January 2, 2018:

Calls grow for Kevin Higgins to be reinstated into the Labour Party

A letter signed by over 30 people in today’s Star brands the poet’s 18 month suspension ‘absurd’

POET Kevin Higgins remains suspended by the Labour Party 18 months after writing a satire about critics of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

A letter printed in today’s Morning Star, signed by more than 30 people, has called on Labour to reinstate Mr Higgins’s membership, branding his continued suspension from the party “absurd.”

Mr Higgins was one of the many to receive letters from Labour’s compliance unit suspending him from the party after the Labour right organised a failed attempt to dislodge Mr Corbyn as leader in the fallout of the EU referendum vote in 2016.

Included in the list of accusations against Mr Higgins was that he had refashioned German writer Bertolt Brecht’s poem Ballad of the Soldier’s Wife as a satire about Tony and Cherie Blair.

The poet lives in Ireland but campaigned for Labour during a visit to Britain and has continued to pay his membership fee as an overseas member.

He has been a member of the party since the age of 15 and was active in the anti-poll tax movement.

In 2015 he wrote the satirical poem Blair’s Advice on hearing that the former prime minister had written a column in the Observer saying Labour would only be successful by occupying the “centre ground”.

He tweeted at the time: “Tony Blair needs to just go away. I hear he has an article in today’s Observer. I’d rather make love to John Prescott than read it.”

Mr Higgins’s supporters wrote: “We think it absurd that someone can remain suspended from the UK Labour Party for 18 months for the supposed crime of writing satirical poems.”

They called on the party to “immediately clarify this situation.”

Here is the 2015 poem about the failed Blairite coup attempt:

BLAIR’S ADVICE (On hearing tell of his column in Sunday’s Observer)

Easy to say,
you’d rather make loud love
to Lord Prescott, or have
your face smashed between
Sir Cyril Smith’s quivering cheeks
than read Tony Blair on how
the motorway to the mountaintop
he envisages lies
through the centre ground;
when you know neither
gentleman’s available, right
here right now, to take you.
We need to make voting Labour
as pleasurable
for call centre managers and
estate agents of a certain age
as lowering their roasting
menopausal testicles
into a nice cold bath.

To this end, we need a leader
with ideas thrilling as a dripping cistern,
a man (or woman) likely conceived during a Conservative Association dinner
somewhere in darkest Buckinghamshire;
who, while his or her fellow students
were thoughtlessly dancing the blues,
bravely danced the beige;
a person of exemplary character apart
from that one conviction for stealing
the brass handles off
their own father’s coffin.
We must offer hope
to those who aspire to shop
for gourmet sausage meat
at Waitrose, and not
waste time on people who perspire
as they rifle through packets
of past-their-use-by-date
picnic ham at Aldi.

KEVIN HIGGINS

– Kevin Higgins’s poetry features in the generation-defining anthology Identity Parade — New British and Irish Poets (Ed. Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and in the recent anthology The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe, 2014). The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon, 2014) is Kevin’s fourth collection of poems. His
blog is at mentioningthewar.blogspot.com.

This video from the USA says about itself:

New Report Finds Tony Blair Schemed With Bush To Invade Iraq

8 July 2016

An official investigation known as The Chilcot Report into how Tony Blair led Great Britain into war reveals that he and George W Bush conspired to bring their countries to a war of aggression based on faulty intelligence, lies and assumptions. Blair sent Bush a note promising loyalty.

And here is Kevin Higgins poem on Tony and Cherie Blair, based on Brecht’s Ballad of the soldier’s wife:

And what did she get, the girlfriend,
from the student union meeting
at which he rose to his feet
and realised he could speak?
From that meeting she got
the Snickers bar he forgot to eat
so busy was he watching them listen;
and that speech, unabridged,
every other night for thirty five years.

And what did she get, his new wife,
from the time he first used a party
conference microphone to agree with both sides?
Those okay with the Moslems/Mexicans/Gypsies being here,
and those who want them kept over there.
From that microphone she took away their
invitation to dine with the Deputy Mayor
and his not new wife.

And what did she get, his no longer new wife,
when, at the second attempt,
he won that seat on the City Council?
From his election she got to drink Pinot Noir
and go swimming in their private club
with the not-so-new wives
of those who got the contracts
to make the paving stones and install
the pay-and-display ticket machines
during his years as Chairman
of the relevant committee.

And what did she get, his well-maintained wife,
the night he was elected to the big shiny
parliament? From that night she took away
an architect to re-design their new three storey pad
in the priciest possible part of the capital,
and an article about herself
in the Daily Express lifestyle pages.

And what did she get, the no longer new MP’s
no longer new wife, the morning
they made him Minister?
That morning she got to go horse riding
with the Leader of the House of Lords’
fourth (or fifth) wife.

And what did she get, the no longer new
Cabinet Minister’s wife, the night the landslide
made him Prime Minister? That night
she got to hold to her breast
invitations to break foie gras
with the Sultan of Brunei, the President of China;
and the chance to write husband’s speech
announcing the crackdown on beggars
who accost hard working
families who stop to ask for directions
en route to the nearest funeral parlour

And what did she get, the ex-Prime Minister’s
no longer new wife, from all the depleted uranium shells
he had dropped during the Battle of Basra, all the soldiers
he sent to meet improvised explosive
devices
in far Mesopotamia in the hope
of getting rid of something bigger
than the beggars and prostitutes
at Kings Cross. For these she got
white night terrors
of him on trial for all their crimes,
and the desire to never again
look out the front window of their fine
Connaught Square house
at the tree from which, it’s said,
they used to once string
traitors.

While the Blairite Labour party bureaucrats keep banning Kevin Higgins for poetry, they apparently never even thought of banning Tony Blair for war crimes, torture, money grabbing or his expressed preference for the Conservative party over the Labour party.

Mr Wolff also claims in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House that Mr Blair tried to land a role as a Middle East adviser to Mr Trump: here.

Poet Mayakovsky in theatre play


This 10 October 2017 video from the Netherlands is the trailer of the play Majakovski/Oktober by theatre company De Warme Winkel.

On 23 November 2017, I went to see Majakovski/Oktober at the Leiden theatre.

Its subject is the life and work of Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930).

This video is called The voice and ethos of Mayakovsky.

When he started as a poet, he did not like symbolism, which was rather widespread then.

He was a radical innovator, inventing the ‘stepladder poem’, in which narrow lines run diagonally down a wider page. These innovations are similar to other avantgarde poets, like Flemish Paul van Ostaijen.

Before 1914, he joined the Futurist movement; which in Russia differed from their Italian colleagues.

In 1915, Mayakovsky fell in love with Lili Brik, a central person in the avantgarde art world. Later, she would feature on a famous Rodchenko poster.

Lili Brik on Rodchenko poster

In 1916, there was trouble in the relationship with Lili Brik. This led to Mayakovsky’s first, failed, suicide attempt. According to Brik, later there was a second failed attempt. Finally, in 1930 after more deceptions in his love life, Mayakovsky made his third attempt, this time successful.

What happened in 1917 in Russia caused him to overcome the sadness which had led to his first attempt to kill himself. In February, a massive workers’ strike drove away the repressive czarist regime. When the new provisional government continued the czar’s participation in the World War I bloodbath and told workers and peasants to wait for improvements till after victory in the war, the October revolution, with its ‘Peace, land, bread’ slogan expelled the provisional government.

Over 150,000 people came to Mayakovsky’s funeral, as this video shows.

In a 1930 obituary, Leon Trotsky wrote:

It is not true that Mayakovsky was first of all a revolutionary and after that a poet, although he sincerely wished it were so. In fact Mayakovsky was first of all a poet, an artist, who rejected the old world without breaking with it. Only after the revolution did he seek to find support for himself in the revolution, and to a significant degree he succeeded in doing so; but he did not merge with it totally for he did not come to it during his years of inner formation, in his youth.

This is a strange remark, as Mayakovsky had joined the revolutionary movement when he was only fourteen years old. More precisely, he joined the Bolshevik tendency among the revolutionaries; which Trotsky would only join ten years later, months before the October revolution. (Partisans of Stalin would reproach Trotsky with being a Johnny-come-lately. Though they were not really consequent. Look at prominent Stalin supporter Andrey Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky. In 1917 had been a pro-provisional government pro-World War I Menshevik. He had tried to have Lenin arrested, and joined the Bolsheviks three years after Trotsky did).

Trotsky had written about Mayakovsky more extensively earlier, with praise but also some sharp criticism.

A. V. Lunacharsky, ex-Soviet Minister of Culture, in a 1931 long obituary reacted critically to Trotsky’s obituary:

Trotsky says that Mayakovsky took his life because the revolution did not proceed according to Trotsky; now, had it gone according to Trotsky, it would have blossomed out in such dazzling fireworks that Mayakovsky would never have dreamed of grieving.

Now, from 1931 to the 2017 play.

This 6 November 2017 video shows what happens backstage at Majakovski/Oktober.

On the flyers of the play, the theatre company alludes to the Dutch social democrat PvdA party, which at recent elections lost most of their voters due to being infected with Blairism.

This 16 October 2017 video shows actresses Annelinde Bruijs en Mara van Vlijmen. They tell how they swapped their roles.

There are six actors in the play, four women and two men, apart from the Mayakovsky role. These six roles are not named. Who are they? Are they Mayakovsky’s lovers, Lili Brik and Veronika Polonskaya? And old colleagues of the poet from the Futurist movement? The dialogues give that impression.

The theme of the play is disrespectful treatment of someone who has died by survivors. Symbolized in the play by the six actors using Mayakovsky’s dead body as a plaything. Dik Boutkan, the actor of the Mayakovsky role, did well at being a dead body during most of the performance, except at the beginning and the end. He is not exceptionally tall, contrary to Mayakovsky. In general, the acting was good.

A review in Dutch daily De Volkskrant says that is a pity the play is more on the poet’s death and after than on his life and work. I have to agree at least somewhat with that.

There is a parallel with another famous artist who killed himself: Vincent van Gogh (though with Van Gogh it is less certain it was really suicide).

In a review of the recent film Loving Vincent, Joanne Laurier wrote:

In the course of the movie, [Doctor] Gachet’s daughter Marguerite asks Armand [Roulin] at one point: “You want to know so much about his death–but what do you know about his life?” This, unfortunately, is a question that can be posed to Loving Vincent as a project.

Ms Laurier cannot accuse Loving Vincent of neglecting Van Gogh’s work, as the paintings, recreated by oil painters, are at the heart of the film.

With Majakovski/Oktober, one may ask: is there enough in the play about his poems? Yes, many lines of them are quoted.

However, not more political lines, like pro-peace lines.

In 1917, Mayakovsky wrote one of various poems against World War I. This one:

Call To Account!

The drum of war thunders and thunders.
It calls: thrust iron into the living.
From every country
slave after slave
are thrown onto bayonet steel.
For the sake of what?
The earth shivers
hungry
and stripped.
Mankind is vapourised in a blood bath
only so
someone
somewhere
can get hold of Albania.
Human gangs bound in malice,
blow after blow strikes the world
only for
someone’s vessels
to pass without charge
through the Bosporus.
Soon
the world
won’t have a rib intact.
And its soul will be pulled out.
And trampled down
only for someone,
to lay their hands on
Mesopotamia
.
Why does
a boot
crush the Earth — fissured and rough?
What is above the battles’ sky –
Freedom?
God?
Money!
When will you stand to your full height,
you,
giving them your life?
When will you hurl a question to their faces:
Why are we fighting?

Still a pertinent poem asking a pertinent question, now with the 2017 wars.

And why does the play neglect Mayakovsky’s theatre plays (obviously useful at first sight for a theatre company)? The films he made? And how about the background, the 1917 Russian revolution mentioned in the title, but not elaborated on?

Dutch daily Het Parool is also critical on the play: here.

The Theaterkrant wrote a positive review: here.

The Dutch daily NRC also wrote a more positive review than De Volkskrant or Het Parool or Trouw; here.

Including the line (translated):

Later in his life he, like [Dutch poet Herman] Gorter, made the switch to socialist poetry and became a mouthpiece for Stalin.

The NRC is incorrect in this. Mayakovsky became a socialist before he became a poet, and wanted to make socialist art right from the beginning. While Dutch Gorter became a poet first, and a socialist later. Both Gorter and Mayakovsky were not ‘mouthpieces for Stalin’. Probably, the reviewer bases that mistakenly on the final part of the play. Then, Dik Boutkan in his Mayakovsky role arises from the dead, and speaks about the situation now in 2017. He attacks the restoration of capitalism in Russia; and claims a strongman like ‘the great Stalin’ is needed to redress that. Giving the wrong impression that the second part of that final speech is a logical consequence of the first part.

Mayakovsky on Marx: here.