"The poet, I wish to repeat, is language's means for existence--or, as my beloved Auden said, he is the one by whom it lives. I who write these lines will cease to be; so will you who read them. But the language in which they are written and in which you read them will remain not merely because language is more lasting than man, but because it is more capable of mutation."
Joseph Brodsky, from his Nobel acceptance speech.
Joseph Brodsky was born in Leningrad on May 24, 1940. He quit school at the age of 15 to work odd jobs at a morgue, a mill, a ship's boiler room and a geological expedition. All the while, Joseph was teaching himself English and Polish. In addition to these languages, Brodsky began writing poetry at the age of 18. After serving 18 months of a five year sentencing to a Siberian labor camp, for "Social Parasitism." Joseph Brodsky was deported from his native Russia in 1972.
Brodsky's exile brought about a love for literature. He studied with fellow Russian Poetess Anna Akhmatova. After working with her for a little while, Brodsky set off to America, and settled down in Brooklyn. Brodksy would go on to write 9 volumes of poetry, along with several collections of essays. His first collection of poetry that appeared in English was released in 1973. He received the Nobel Prize for liturature in 1987. For fifteen years, Brodsky taught at both Columbia University and Mount Holyoke College. He also served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1991 to 1992. In the following year, Brodsky, alongside Andrew Carrol, formed the American Poetry & Literacy Project, a non-profit organization devoted to bringing poetry to the forefront of American culture. On January 28, 1996 Brodsky suffered a heart attack that would prove to be fatal.
What would a poet be without poetry
Here's a girl from a dangerous town
She crops her dark hair short
so that less of her has to frown
when someine gets hurt.
She folds her memories like a parachute.
Dropped, she collects the peat
and cooks her veggies at home: they shoot
here where they eat.
Ah, there's more sky in these parts than, say,
ground. Hence her voice's pitch,
and her stare stains your retina like a gray
bulb when you switch
hemispheres, and her knee-length quilt
skirt's cut to catch the squal,
I dream of her either loved or killed
because the town's too small.
not the best, but better than nothing