Joseph Brodsky

(24 May 1940 – 28 January 1996 / Leningrad)

Joseph Brodsky
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Joseph Brodsky was born in 1940, in Leningrad, and began writing poetry when he was eighteen. Anna Akhmatova soon recognized in the young poet the most gifted lyric voice of his generation. From March 1964 until November 1965, Brodsky lived in exile in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia; he had been sentenced to five years in exile at hard labor for "social parasitism," but did not serve out his term.

Four of Brodsky's poems were published in Leningrad anthologies in 1966 and 1967, but most of his work has appeared only in the West. He is a splendid poetic translator and has translated into Russian, among others, the English metaphysical poets, and the Polish ... more »

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Quotations

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  • The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; som...
    Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940), Russian-born-U.S. poet, critic. Address, 1984, delivered at Williams College. "A Commencement Address," Less Than One: Selec...
  • A poet is a combination of an instrument and a human being in one person, with the former gradually taking over the latter. The sensation of this takeover is responsible for timbre; the realization of...
    Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940), Russian-born U.S. poet, critic. (First published 1979). "A Poet and Prose," sect. 2, Less Than One: Selected Essays (1986).
  • ''Snobbery? But it's only a form of despair.''
    Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940), Russian-born U.S. poet, critic. "Flight from Byzantium," sct. 9, Less Than One: Selected Essays (1986).
  • ''The delirium and horror of the East. The dusty catastrophe of Asia. Green only on the banner of the Prophet. Nothing grows here except mustaches.''
    Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940), Russian-born U.S. poet, critic. "Flight from Byzantium," sect. 9, Less Than One: Selected Essays (1986).
  • ''Racism? But isn't it only a form of misanthropy?''
    Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940), Russian-born U.S. poet, critic. "Flight from Byzantium," sct. 9, Less Than One: Selected Essays (1986).
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Comments about Joseph Brodsky

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  • Rookie Jay Warier (7/25/2009 6:29:00 AM)

    What a beautiful poem 'A Song' is!

  • Rookie Jay Warier (7/25/2009 6:29:00 AM)

    What a beautiful poem 'A Song' is!

Read all 2 comments »
Best Poem of Joseph Brodsky

A Song

I wish you were here, dear, I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
and I sat near.
the handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car,
and you'd shift the gear.
we'd find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we'd repair
To where we've been before.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims ...

Read the full of A Song

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