Joseph Brodsky

I studied Russian for a single year and I love the way the syllables round over the tongue. Take Brodsky’s full name for example: Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky. It tastes good.

Brodsky defined himself as Jewish, a Russian poet, an English essayist, and an American citizen. Born in 1940 in Leningrad, Brodsky grew up in Soviet society with extreme poverty and totalitarianism. Brodsky began to write poetry early on, publishing in underground journals. He never really stuck with an appropriate career path. The Soviet government charged him with “social parasitism” in 1964, because he didn’t support the motherland.

Brodsky’s poetry circulated in the West, and in his detention in 1964, he also became a symbol of artistic resistance. In 1972, he was strongly advised to emigrate. Brodsky wanted to stay in Russia, but was eventually “evicted” and flown to Austria. From there, he travelled to USA, where he found his future base, writing and lecturing at a number of prominent universities. Brodsky was award the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987.

Brodsky died of a heart attack in New York City in 1996.


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