Joseph Brodsky (1940–1996) was a Russian poet and essayist. Born in Leningrad, Brodsky moved to the United States when he was exiled from Russia in 1972. His poetry collections include A Part of Speech andTo Urania; his essay collections include Less Than One, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Watermark. In 1987, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He served as US Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992.

IN THE REVIEW

On Mark Strand (1934–2014)

Mark Strand, New York City, 2013
The poet Mark Strand, a contributor to these pages, died on November 29. JOSEPH BRODSKY The following was given by Joseph Brodsky as an introduction to a reading by Mark Strand at the American Academy of Poets in New York City on November 4, 1986. It’s a …

With a View of the Sea

October, and the sea this morning rests its cheek against the quays; the pattering upon the awning’s seeds of the acacia trees, keeping a beat. The blazing sun is hoisting up out of the sea a piercing stare that doesn’t burn, just as …

January 1, 1965

The following poem was written by Joseph Brodsky while in internal exile in Norenskaia, in the Arkhangelsk region of northern Russia. In the Soviet Union, New Year’s celebrations came to be seen as a substitute for Christmas. This translation was found among his papers. The kings will lose your old …

Cabbage and Carrot

One afternoon Cabbage visited Carrot and found Carrot wearing something transparent. “Oh, that looks quite fancy, that looks like fun. But where are you off to in this cellophane?” “You really think so?” blushed Carrot. “Well, I’ve… Well, I’ve been invited tonight by …

At the City Dump in Nantucket

To Stephen White The perishable devours the perishable in broad daylight, moribund in its turn in late November, and the seagulls attacking the dump are trying to outnumber the snow, or have it at least delayed. Here’s the primordial alphabet shooting pell-mell, crisscross.

The Russian Academy: Preliminary Notes

In the fall of 1995, Joseph Brodsky put forward a plan to found an Academy in Rome where Russian scholars and artists could resume a longstanding tradition of Russian study in Italy. He submitted the following proposal to Francesco Ruttelli, the mayor of Rome, who expressed his enthusiasm for the …

Via Funari

Ugly gargoyles peek out of your well-lit window, the Gaetani palace exhales turpentine and varnish, and Gino’s where the coffee was good and I used to pick up the keys, has vanished. In Gino’s stead came a boutique; it sells socks and neckties, more indispensable …

Kolo

MCMXCIV KOLO In march the soldiers with rifles on their shoulders. Out run through brambles the locals with their bundles. Off fly the envoys contemplating new ways of creating symmetry in a future cemetery. Up go the …