To the Editors:
Your readers may be interested to know of the first three fellowships to be granted by the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund. The fellows, chosen by an independent jury of Russian intellectuals, will be the poets Timur Kibirov, Vladimir Stratanovsky, and Sergei Strochkov.
Mr. Kibirov was born in 1955 and lives in Moscow. He is the author of five books of poetry. Mr. Stratanovsky was born in 1944 and lives in St. Petersburg, where he is a bibliographer at the National Library; Mr. Strochkov was born in 1945 in Moscow. They have each written one book of poetry.
They will each have a three-month fellowship in Rome during the year 2000. Mr. Kibirov and Mr. Strochkov will be guests of the American Academy in Rome, and Mr. Stratanovsky of the Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome.
In the fall of 1995 Mr. Brodsky, a Nobel laureate in literature, made an appeal to the mayor of Rome that a Russian Academy in Rome be established, to allow Russian artists, writers, and scholars periods of work and study in Italy. He urged that seventy years of isolation under Communist rule had broken a much older tradition of cultural exchange between Russia and its European neighbors; he wished to revive this tradition with the creation of an independent academy devoted to Russian literature, culture, and scholarship. As he wrote to the mayor, “Italy was a revelation to the Russians; now it can become the source of their renaissance.”
When he died in 1996 his idea was taken up by a group of his friends, who set up foundations in the US and Italy to realize it. The first three fellowships were made possible by generous donations from Mr. Carlo Caracciolo and Mr. Giuseppe Gazzoni.
Maria Sozzani Brodsky
The Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund
New York City
March 9, 2000