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Libertines, Lotharios or Bastards?

Russia’s Rudest Rhymer

Russia’s Rudest Rhymer
Ivan Barkov 1732–1768

“There was an old lady from Kursk.......”

St Petersburg 1768

Ivan Barkov, the obscene Russian poet, is dead….but no one can quite remember how. Some say he was fatally injured during a bout of drunken sex in a brothel

Others maintain that he drunkenly fell into a privy and drowned.

One theory suggests he committed suicide..Leaving behind a heartfelt note reading, “lived sinfully, and died ridiculously” which was found shoved up his arse.

Whatever the truth, his work will live on despite the fact that it is so pornographic, it wasn’t published in his life time and won’t see the printed page for another 200 years.

SUICIDE NOTE UP ASSedit “Why I couldn’t have posted it like anyone else, I’ll never know”


This isn’t to say he’s unknown. From the moment he came up with them, generations of Russians students have memorized, and scribbled down his “Shameful Odes” as clever satires on Russian society and literary pretension.

They also think swearing’s really clever and funny.

A talented writer with a gift for languages Barkov ‘s own education was punctuated by numerous disciplinary beatings for drunkenness, slander, carousing, insolence, and drunkenness.

He was finally expelled from the Academic Gymnasium in St Petersburg for fighting with the police.

In his work, Barkov popularized the use of slang or Mat, combining the sophisticated language of the drawing room with the kind of filthy smut you would hear from a gang of sweaty peasants pissed up on vodka.

"Ha Ha Ha" “Now write the one about the Cossack’s wife and the donkey, you bowl headed bastard…..Ha Ha Ha”

His poems are funny, offensive, yet deeply poignant.

Who couldn’t fail to be profoundly moved by the plight of the impotent hero of his poem Ebikhud (Nofuccus)

Oh day, o unhappy day, O fate so cruel and harsh!

In vain do I survey my Pulchrovulvia’s charms,

And dream of plunging deep inside her lovely cunt,

Until I overflow in waterfalls of spunk-

My wretched prick still droops; no woman I might tup,

No beauty in the world can firm my sausage up.

Barkov’s legacy can be found in the legendary Russian poem Luka Mudischev which tells the heart-warming story of a man paid to have sex with a board widow who accidentally kills her with his enormous penis.

"I'll be honest with you lapochka, this might not end well" “I’ll be honest with you lapochka, this might not end well”

It’s also present in the work of one of Russia premier literary giants, Alexander Pushkin.

"Nuns are funny, I wonder if I can slip one into Boris Godunov" “Nuns are funny, I wonder if I can slip one into Boris Godunov”

In “Barkov’s Shadow” Pushkin pays tribute to the man by penning the tale of a defrocked priest who signs a pact with Barkov’s ghost in order to posses inexhaustible sexual prowess.

So powerful is his erection that the nun who tries to castrate him for his debauched ways takes one look at it, shits herself and drops dead.

Now that’s a poem.


"I hate bloody poets" “I hate bloody poets”



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