Combining two books of verse that were first published in his native Russian, "To Urania" was Brodsky's third volume to appear in English. Published in 1988, the year after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, this collection features pieces translated by the poet himself and others, as well as poems written originally in English. Auden ...
Combining two books of verse that were first published in his native Russian, "To Urania" was Brodsky's third volume to appear in English. Published in 1988, the year after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, this collection features pieces translated by the poet himself and others, as well as poems written originally in English. Auden once characterized Brodsky as "a traditionalist . . . interested in what lyric poets of all ages have been interested in . . . encounters with nature . . . reflections upon the human condition, death, and the meaning of existence." Reading the poems in "To Urania"--by turns cerebral, caustic, comic, and celebratory--we appreciate firsthand a great lyric poet's variety and achievement.
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Publishers Weekly, 1988-06-03 An autumnal mood pervades these verses from the exiled Soviet poet and Nobel laureate. ``Life is the sum of trifling motions,'' observes Brodsky. In ironic, well-made lyrics he broods on being middle-aged and measures the abyss between ideals and reality. The pointlessness of existence is conveyed in his description of the Earth: ``A sphere in space without markers/ spins and spins.'' Some poems are political; ``The Berlin Wall Tune'' wickedly lampoons the regimented mentality that holds up the Iron Curtain. Brodsky experiments with a variety of forms: ``Twenty Sonnets to Mary Queen of Scots,'' ``Lithuanian Nocturne,'' a carol, philosophical dialogues, vignettes of a damp, wintry Venice, a Baltic blizzard, a Polar expedition. New poems are intermixed with the poet's translations of his verses written during the past 14 years. (July)
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