In one of his interviews he said: I started to write when I was eighteen or nineteen. However, until I was about twenty-three, I didn’t take it that seriously. Sometimes people say, “The best things you have written were when you were nineteen.” But I don’t think I’m a Rimbaud" .
In her book Hope Abandoned Nadezhda Mandelstam says of Brodsky “He is . . . a remarkable young man who will come to a bad end, I fear.”
In 1963, Brodsky's poetry was denounced by a Leningrad newspaper as "pornographic and anti-Soviet".
Brodsky was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1972 after serving 18 months of a five-year sentence in a labor camp in northern Russia. After a short stay in Vienna, Brodsky settled in Ann Arbor and became poet in residence at the University of Michigan for a year. Later he become a Visiting Professor at Queens College , Columbia University, and Cambridge University.
In his interview in 1979 Brodsky said: I don’t think I’ve written anything about New York. You can’t do much about New York. Whereas Venice—I’ve done quite a lot. But places like New England or Mexico, or England, old England—basically when you find yourself in a strange place, and the stranger the place it is, to a certain extent, the better—it somehow sharpens your notion of your individuality, say a place like Brighton (laughs) or York in England. You see yourself better against a strange background.
Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity". In 1991, Brodsky became Poet Laureate of the United States. The Librarian of Congress said that Brodsky had "the open-ended interest of American life that immigrants have. This is a reminder that so much of American creativity is from people not born in America".
Brodsky had a long relationship with The New Yorker, publishing some forty poems in the magazine, as well as essays on Istanbul, Stephen Spender and Robert Frost. Five books of poems by Brodsky in English were published during his lifetime.
Brodsky was one of the first poets who took part on the MTA's Poetry in Motion program that has brought more than 200 poems or excerpts before the eyes of millions of subway riders.
Sir, you are tough, and I am tough.
But who will write whose epitaph?
The program started in 1992 and after a hiatus of four years, from 2008 through 2011, the popular program returned in March 2012. The first poem to display was an excerpt from Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry".
Joseph Brodsky was the fifth US Poet Laureate , serving from 1991-1992 at the Library of Congress .
Joseph Brodsky was co-founder of the famous restaurant Samovar, that was founded on May 24, 1986 by Roman Kaplan. The restaurant already had an interesting history: Frank Sinatra owned the place in the past. He had many personal concerts there and often spent time with his friends at this restaurant.
After winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987, Mr. Brodsky gave Mr. Kaplan, the owner of the restaurant, some money from the award to help the Samovar over a financial hump. Mr. Kaplan, who features poetry readings at the restaurant on Tuesday nights, also holds annual tributes to Mr. Brodsky.
“In his honor, this whole thing began,” Mr. Kaplan continued. “And on every day of his birth and of his death, which is going to be on the 28th of January, we get together here and we read poetry.”
|22 Pierrepont st, Brooklyn|
In 1993 Brodsky bought charming three-bedroom co-op apartment in Brooklyn Heights townhouse at 22 Pierrepont St. Later this apartment was bought by documentary film director Errol Morris, known for such movies as The Fog of War and The Thin Blue Line. I took the pictures of this townhouse form real estate site.
Brodsky died at home of a heart attack aged 55 on January 28, 1996. There was a memorial service for Brodsky at Grace Church, 245 Hicks Street on the corner of Grace Court in the Brooklyn Heights. There was a subsequent tradition of printing “24-Dec-71,” one of Brodsky’s Nativity Poems, in the church’s Christmas Eve bulletin. It concludes:
|Grace Church, Brooklyn|
But the draft through the doorway will part
the thick mist of the hours of darkness
and a shape in a shawl stand revealed,
and the Christ-child and Spirit that’s Holy
will be sensed in the soul without shame;
a glance skyward will show it — the star.
A month after his death hundreds came to the largest Gothic church in the world, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan, to pay homage to Brodsky, whose poetry made him a cultural giant in the two most powerful countries in the world.
The service began with music of Brodsky's adopted homeland, ``When Johnny Comes Marching Home,'' played by the United States Military Academy Band, accompanying the entering processional.
|Cathedral of Saint John the Divine|
"He would have liked it,'' remarked Irish poet Seamus Heaney, his fellow Nobel Prize winner, after he'd done his part by reading a Brodsky poem."He believed in language, not in himself.''
Mikhail Baryshnikov, Russian-American ballet dancer, who was a friend of Brodsky from 1974 when they met in New York, will perform in a new solo work based on the poems of Joseph Brodsky. Mr. Baryshnikov said that the show would not be biographical and would focus solely on Mr. Brodsky’s poetry. The piece will have its premiere in Riga on Oct. 15. A tour to the United States, as part of an international tour, is planned for 2016. Mr. Baryshnikov is also a co- founder of the restaurant Samovar.