A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview

Joseph Brodsky (born 1940)

Born in Leningrad of Russian Jewish parents. Left school at the age of fifteen; outraged by the Soviet brutalities in Hungary and Poland in 1956. Began to study Polish, in which he was fluent by 1958, the year in which he began to write poetry. Worked as a translator. A friend of Anna Akhmatova's from 1961 onwards. Arrested in December 1963 for 'social parasitism' and sentenced to five years exile. In a labour camp in the vicinity of Archangel for twenty-one months, during which time he taught himself English by reading the poetry of Eliot, Yeats, Auden, Dylan Thomas and Wallace Stevens. Became known in the West by virtue of the fact that he was a dissident writer who had been brought to trial. Returned to Leningrad in November 1965; continually harassed thereafter and prevented from accepting invitations to poetry readings abroad. Chose exile in June 1972. After brief stays in Vienna and London became Poet in Residence at the University of Michigan. Later taught at Columbia University and at New York University. Awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by Yale University in 1978; principal guest at the Cambridge Poetry Festival in 1979. Now writes with equal facility in Russian and English.

Although 'discovered' after Yevtushenko and Voznesensky had already made an impact in the West, Brodsky is the first post-war Russian poet to have successfully survived comparison with the exceptionally brilliant generation of poets born before the Revolution. Like them, he has proved unacceptable to a repressive régime; in 1964, after a show trial

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A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) 13
  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) 23
  • Paul Verlaine (1844-96) 32
  • Tristan Corbière (1845-75) 40
  • Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) 47
  • Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) 56
  • Stefan George (1868-1933) 64
  • Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) 73
  • Paul Valéry (1871-1945) 80
  • Hugo Von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) 88
  • Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) 97
  • Antonio Machado (1875-1939) 108
  • Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) 118
  • Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921) 127
  • Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) 136
  • Umberto Saba (1883-1957) 143
  • Dino Campana (1885-1932) 150
  • Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) 158
  • Georg Trakl (1887-1914) 166
  • Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) 173
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) 181
  • Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) 190
  • Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) 197
  • Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) 206
  • Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938 215
  • César Vallejo (1892-1938) 225
  • Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) 234
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) 243
  • Paul Éluard (1895-1952) 259
  • Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) 266
  • Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) 276
  • Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) 284
  • Jorge Luis Borges (born 1899) 292
  • George Seferis (1900-71 ) 301
  • Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-68) 308
  • Lucio Piccolo (1901-69) 316
  • Attila József (1902-37) 324
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-73) 333
  • René Char (born 1907) 344
  • Cesare Pavese (1908-50) 351
  • Yannis Ritsos (born 1909) 360
  • Octavio Paz (born 1914) 368
  • Johannes Bobrowski (1917-65) 376
  • Paul Celan (1920-70) 383
  • Vasko Popa (born 1922) 392
  • Yves Bonnefoy (born 1923) 400
  • Yehuda Amichai (born 1924) 408
  • Zbigniew Herbert (born 1924) 416
  • Joseph Brodsky (born 1940) 424
  • Bibliographies 432
  • Index 461
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