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Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund

When Joseph Brodsky died in New York in 1996, a group of his friends, including The New York Review’s editor Robert Silvers, got together to continue an effort Brodsky had begun to create a Russian Academy in Rome. The NYRB published Brodsky’s letter to the mayor of Rome pressing for the idea: “Italian culture is indeed the mother of Russian aesthetics,” he argued, and “for seventy of this century’s years this connection between the mother and her child was artificially severed. Much of what has transpired in Russia—in its mental climate specifically—is this unfortunate break’s direct result, and the idea of establishing a Russian Academy in Rome has to do with a desire to restore that child to its natural, healthy condition.”

Brodsky’s little band of Russian Academy supporters has soldiered on, sending over two dozen Russian artists and writers to Italy over the ensuing years as Brodsky Fellows. The international climate today, they propose, creates fresh impetus for Brodsky’s founding vision. Indeed, Brodsky Fund fellows, though chosen on aesthetic grounds alone, are among Russia’s most visible public voices. Boris Khersonsky was recently profiled in The New York Times for support of cultural pluralism in Ukraine; Maria Stepanova is the founder of Russia’s most widely read independent journal, Colta; Elena Fanailova has done pioneering political reporting on Radio Liberty; the artist Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakminskaya) is appearing in the current Venice Biennale, “All the World’s Futures,” with a piece entitled “Clothes for the Demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin.”

On May 23, in celebration of what would have been Brodsky’s seventy-fifth birthday that week, a group of Brodsky fellows in art and literature will read from their work at the Anna Akhmatova Museum in St. Petersburg, and the garden will feature some of the Fund’s artists. Say the Brodsky Fund founders, Brodsky’s independent spirit is better remembered with this living experience than a monument or a medal. You too can support international pluralism in the arts and remember Brodsky’s presence as an advocate for poetry and free artistic expression by supporting the Brodsky Fund.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit en.akhmatova.spb.ru.

Category: Readings and Talks
Anna Akhmatova Museum at the Fountain House
53 Liteyniy Prospekt ,
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation