Mayakovsky was one of Russia's most important avant-garde poets. A member of the Futurist group of painters and poets in the century's second decade, he became noted for his flamboyant public appearances, aesthetic iconoclasm, and very real verbal brilliance. Early involvement with the Bolsheviks in 1908 was followed years later by endorsement of the new Soviet government. Mayakovsky placed his talents at the service of the Soviet state, although his dreams for radical cultural changes were rebuffed by the new rulers, most of whom had relatively conservative tastes in literature. During the civil war and the 1920's, Mayakovsky wrote a great deal of agitational verse of varying quality; he also wrote film scenarios and two plays. A notable figure in the Soviet Union, with a considerable international reputation, he was allowed to travel abroad. However, he also drew harsh criticism for his deviation from the increasingly rigid cultural norms. This, combined with problems in his personal life, ultimately led to his suicide at age 36---an event that resounded greatly in Soviet culture. Mayakovsky was a great innovator in versification, striking in his use of extravagant metaphor and hyperbole. His experiments with rhythm, rhyme, and language affected many poets, and this originality went hand in hand with great lyric talent, often refracted through comic and tragic personas. Among his most important achievements are his long narrative poems, such as "A Cloud in Trousers" (1915), "War and the World" (1916), and "About That" (1923). Also excellent are his plays, "The Bedbug" (1928) and "The Bathhouse" (1929)---brilliant satires of Soviet philistinism and bureaucracy.