No Comment — February 6, 2008, 12:35 am

Celebrating the Life of Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky was one of the greatest poets of the last century. His work can be celebrated for many things, but for me Brodsky stands out especially as a bridge between cultures. He hailed from the same corner of the earth as some others who played this role of intermediacy, such as Adam Mickiewicz in the century before, or Czeslaw Milosz, his close contemporary. And like Milosz, Brodsky made his way to the new world, immersed himself in yet another new language and culture, and was an astonishing success in that one, too. His successes and recognitions are too many to enumerate, but the fact that he received the Nobel Prize and became Poet Laureate of the United States cannot be passed by. And in a fundamental sense, it is not just Brodsky’s poetry that is magical, but also his life that was both magical and poetic. It was not poetic in a trite, sweet Victorian sort of way. It spoke a poetry of quiet, stubborn conviction, nobility of spirit and a heroism in things both small and great.

To the poetry of Brodsky’s life belongs this scene from his trial in a Soviet court on charges of parasitism (??????????) in 1964.

?????: ? ?????? ????? ???? ??????????????
????????: ????. ????-??????????.
?????: ? ??? ??? ???????, ??? ?? ????? ??? ????????? ??? ? ???????
????????: ?????. (??? ??????). ? ??? ????????? ???? ? ???? ??????????????
?????: ? ?? ??????? ??????
????????: ????? ?????: ????? ???? ??????? ?? ???????? ??????? ???, ??? ???????… ??? ????…
????????: ? ?? ?????, ??? ??? ?????? ????????????.
?????: ? ??? ???
????????: ? ?????, ???… (??????????)… ?? ????…

Cissie Dore Hill does a wonderful job of rendering this into English (but I have tinkered with it a bit):

Court: And what is your profession, in general?
Brodsky: I am a poet and a poetic translator.
Court: Who recognizes you as a poet? Who enrolled you in the ranks of poets?
Brodsky: No one. Who enrolled me in the ranks of humankind?
Court: Did you study this?
Brodsky: This?
Court: How to become a poet. You did not even try to finish high school where they prepare… teach?
Brodsky: I didn’t think you could get this from school.
Court: How then?
Brodsky: I think that it… comes from God.

Joseph’s friends, led by Mikhail Baryshnikov, are organizing a benefit dinner and concert to support the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund, and I am pleased to be among them. The event will be at 8:00 p.m. on February 13, 2008 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 57th Street in New York. I’d like to extend an invitation to all my readers to attend and to support this worthy event. The program and information on securing tickets follows.


Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Misha Rachlevsky, Conductor, Julia Kogan, Soprano

Eskender Bekmambetov, “There…” a cycle of songs based on poems by Joseph Brodsky, commissioned by the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Divertimento in D, K. 136

Franz Joseph Haydn, Quartet in F Major, Op. 3, No. 5: II. Serenade, Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5: IV. Vivace

Alfred Schnittke, “Moz-Art à la Haydn,” for violins and orchestra


Tickets:
Concert and pre-concert reception: $150 ($120 tax-deductible)
Supper, Concert and Reception: $350 ($230 tax-deductible)
Benefactor: $500 ($370 tax-deductible)
For tickets or more information call 212 645 3346 or kjellzer@pipeline.com

The Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Conversation August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

Lincoln’s Party

Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2016

Separated at Birth

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Priest in the Trees

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Lightness

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

With Child

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Standing Rock Speaks

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Prose by Any Other Name

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
With Child·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley
Article
Swat Team·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"As we shall see, for the sort of people who write and edit the opinion pages of the Post, there was something deeply threatening about Sanders and his political views."
Illustration (detail) by John Ritter
Article
Escape from The Caliphate·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"When Matti invited me on a tour of the neighborhood, I asked about security. 'The message has already been passed to ISIS that you’re here,' he said. 'But don’t worry. I guarantee I could bring even you in and out of the Islamic State.'"
Photograph (detail) by Alice Martins
Article
In This One·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Illustration (detail) by Shonagh Rae
Article
“Don’t Touch My Medicare!”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Medicare’s popularity, however, comes with almost no understanding of what the program is and how it works."
Illustration (detail) by Nate Kitch

Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:

$50,000

The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.

The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from “Twelve Days of Christmas” went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Who Goes Nazi?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

Subscribe Today