1987 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was the 5th Russian born
writer to get the prize.
Born: 24/05/1940 in Leningrad, the then USSR
Died: 28/01/1996 in New York City of heart
Citizen: Originally Russian, but expelled
from Soviet Union in 1972. settled in USA and became a US Citizen with
the help of famous poet W H Auden.
Language: Russian, English
Brodsky's father was a professional photographer
and mother was a professional interpreter. His childhood was spent
amid poverty and squalor. He was a disobedient and unruly boy. At the
age of 15, he left school. His education was largely home made. He
learned Polish and English so that he could read Milosz and John
Donne. Poetry was in his veins and he was deeply interested in
religion, philosophy. Brodsky was very independent minded. He once
remarked that he loathed Lenin not because of his political philosophy
but because his presence was everywhere.
At the age of 15, Brodsky had already started
writing poems and was marked in literary circles for his poems- The
Jewish Cemetery near Leningrad" and "Pilgrim". Soviet establishment
pounced upon Brodsky describing his poetry as pornographic and
anti-Soviet. For his parasitism, he was sentenced to 5 years of
rigorous imprisonment in Arctic region which was 350 miles from
Leningrad. The confinement was a boon in disguise as he devoted
exclusively to reading and writing. In 1965, the sentence was commuted
under pressure from writers and international community.
On 4th June, 1972, Brodsky was expelled from Soviet
Union by putting him in a plane bound for Vienna. From there, he
migrated to USA where he taught in Yale and Michigan universities.
While in Paris in a teaching assignment, he fell in love with and
married a student Maria Sozzani.
Brodsky was immensely versatile and accomplished
and had wide ranging themes. His poems emphasized the relationship
between a poet and the socirty.
Influences: John Donne, Czeslaw Milosz,
W H Auden, Robert Frost, Derek Walcott, Osip Mandelshtam.
Works: A Part of Speech(1977), To
Urania(1988), Less Than One( 1986), Marbles(1989),
Order Joseph Brodsky's Books below