Watch a video clip, which brings the Russian view on Brodsky’s anniversary. This episode features visits to the places Joseph Brodsky used to live – a room and a half in a St. Petersburg apartment, where Brodsky grew up, the tiny village of Norenskaya in Arkhangelsk province, where he served a year and a half of his term being sentenced for “social parasitism,” and the Greenwich Village townhouse, in which he lived for seventeen years. His poetry frequently recounts, literally or metaphorically, a journey or quest, and his travels provided rich material for his verse. Brodsky believed that poetry has the power to transform individual consciousness and transcend political and social constraints. His own beliefs changed radically between his youthful career in Russia, when he was a young poet with exceptional promise, and his later phase in America, when he has been admired for his ability to use complex rhythm and meter and extensive word play to address such timeless concerns as man and nature, love and death, the ineluctability of anguish, the fragility of human achievements and attachments, the preciousness of the privileged moment. As a young man he was influenced by the poetry of Osip Mandelshtam and Marina Tsvetayeva, American poet Robert Frost and German writer Ranier Maria Rilke, as a poet he formed lifelong friendships with Anna Akhmatova and American poet of British origin W. H. Auden. Generally praised for writing in both English and Russian, for his vast knowledge of Western poetic traditions, and his mastery of numerous verse forms, which he drew easily from classical poetry, Brodsky received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987, became the first foreign-born poet laureate of the United States in 1991, and his collection of essays on art and politics Less Than One won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1986.

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