Rilke, Rachmaninoff, Tolstoy, Blok and Bely were all visitors to his parents’ home. He became a great admirer of Rilke’s poetry, but was inspired by his neighbour Scriabin to study music. Tsvetayeva and he wrote to each other for 20 years before meeting (their triangular correspondence with Rilke is notable). His relationship with Mandelstam was complicated (despite what he said to Stalin, he had attended a reading satirising him). Spender and Pasternak were mutual admirers, Ehrenburg and Babel sat Pasternak down in a Paris café to rewrite his grumpy speech, and Akhmatova rejected his several offers of marriage.