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Nativity Poems (Hardcover)

Author: Joseph Brodsky
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Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0374219400
ISBN-13: 9780374219406
Sku: 30763299
Publish Date: 11/1/2001
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5L x 0.75T
Pages:  160
Age Range:  NA
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Translated from the Russian, this collection of six Christmas poems by the United States Nobel Laureate is about time, eternity, and love, spanning a lifetime of metaphysical reflection and formal invention.
From the Publisher:
A stunning, pocket-sized edition of christmas poems about time, eternity, and love, from the Nobel Laureate is translated by six excellent poets, drawing on Renaissance imagery.
Annotation:
Nobel Laureate and United States Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky has written dozens of poems on Christmas that have not been included in his numerous collections. Here, his Christmas poems are presented in one volume, translated into English by an eminent group of poets including Melissa Green, Seamus Heaney, Anthony Hecht, George L. Kline, Glynn Maxwell, Paul Muldoon, Alan Myers, Derek Walcott, Daniel Weissbort, Richard Wilbur, and Brodsky himself.
Author Bio
Joseph Brodsky
Like many of the other American poets who the Nobel Prize has honored, Brodsky was not born an American. (T. S. Eliot, an exception, was from St. Louis but had already immigrated to England by the time he was honored.) Brodsky was born in Leningrad during the Soviet days, and pinpoints his discovery of Dostoevsky's NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND as his ideological break with the Soviet regime. He was accused of "parasitism," and put on trial for being a drain on society as a poet and self-taught translator by profession, "a pseudo-poet in velveteen trousers" who did not fulfill his "constitutional duty to work honestly for the good of the motherland." Transcripts of his trial have since been made available, and underscore the absurdity of the charge. When Brodsky was asked to justify where his poetic talent came from, since he was not formally schooled in the art, having dropped out at 15 and subsequently become a laborer, stoker, and morgue attendant, his reply ("I think that it comes from God") was not popular with the court. He was sentenced to five years of hard labor at Kresty, the Soviet Union's most infamous prison. Brodsky was already a favorite poet of the underground by this time, and his work in samizdat publications had earned him the respect of many (and the ire of the Secret Police). Many famous artists including Dmitri Shostakovich and Anna Akhmatova rallied around his cause, and in 1965, after serving 18 months of his sentence, he was released. This same year a collection of his poems was published in the United States. A few years later, in 1972, Brodsky was forced into exile. W. H. Auden assisted him to initially immigrate to Vienna, and finally to the United States. Brodsky has remarked that his love of American poetry caused him to identify with the United States long before his residency there. In 1987 at the age of 47--the second youngest individual ever (after Camus) to win the award--he was honored with a Nobel Prize "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity." He was also included in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but resigned in 1987 in protest at the honorary membership of the Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, whom Brodsky knew as a Soviet yes-man. Brodsky was named United States Poet Laureate 1991-1992. He died of heart disease in 1996.

Praise

New York Times
"Bit by bit, as the familiar torment of his own country was replaced by the torment of exile--estranging and refining at the same time--Brodsky's poetry acquired a longer, transforming reach. The Nativity poems witness the change." - Richard Eder 12/19/2001

Table of Contents

Contents

Christmas Ballad  Translated by Glyn Maxwell.........................3
January 1, 1965  Translated by the author............................9
Speech over Spilled Milk  Translated by Glyn Maxwell................11
Anno Domini  Translated by Daniel Weissbort.........................41
"A second Christmas by the shore"  Translated by George L.
Kline...............................................................49
December 24, 1971  Translated by Alan Myers with the author.........53
Lagoon  Translated by Anthony Hecht.................................59
"With riverbanks of frozen chocolate, a city"  Translated by
Derek Walcott.......................................................69
"Snow is falling, leaving the whole world outmanned"................71
    Translated by Paul Muldoon
Star of the Nativity  Translated by the author......................73
Flight into Egypt  Translated by Melissa Green......................75
"Imagine striking a match that night in the cave"...................79
    Translated by Seamus Heaney
Nativity  Translated by the author..................................81
Presepio  Translated by Richard Wilbur..............................83
Lullaby  Translated by the author...................................87
25.xii.1993  Translated by Richard Wilbur...........................95
"The air—fierce frost and pine-boughs"  Translated by
Derek Walcott.......................................................97
Flight into Egypt (2)  Translated by Seamus Heaney..................99
A Conversation with Joseph Brodsky by Peter Vail...................103
Editor's Note......................................................113

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