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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

BOOKWORM: Brodsky: A Pushkin For This Century




The superlatives in the poetry department used to be reserved for Alexander Pushkin. The 19th-century genius was known as "the sun of Russian poetry" and "our everything" (nasha vsyo).


But the title of "great Russian poet" is now more and more often given to Joseph Brodsky, who died in 1996.


Next summer, when Russia celebrates Pushkin's 200th birthday, the father of the Russian literary language will undoubtedly regain his status as "No. 1 poet." But in the meantime, considering the flood of new titles published in this country by and about Brodsky, the Nobel laureate can be considered the Pushkin of today.


Here is an incomplete list of some new Brodsky volumes and volumes on Brodsky that have appeared in Moscow and in Brodsky's native St. Petersburg just within the last month or two:


?"Complete Works by Joseph Brodsky," in a second, enlarged edition. Published in St. Petersburg by the "Pushkinsky Fond" (the two names are inseparable), it will contain at least seven volumes, three more than the first edition. The new collection will have four volumes of poetry, three volumes of essays and a special tome devoted to commentary.


Volume 4 is on sale now for 25 rubles in St. Petersburg and up to 50 rubles in Moscow. It contains Russian poems written in 1987-1996, foreign poetry in Brodsky's translations and bilingual editions of his poems written in English.


?Solomon Volkov's "Conversations with Joseph Brodsky." This is the complete text of the original Russian manuscript, published last Christmas in English in New York, and now available for the first time in Russian under the title "Dialogi s Iosifom Brodskim" by Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Moscow. The 328-page, illustrated hardcover can be found for 60 rubles.


?Academic and not-so-academic papers, presented at three international Brodsky conferences held in St. Petersburg in 1990, 1995 and 1997, have been collected and published this autumn by the Zvezda literary monthly. A limited edition of the book can be bought in Moscow for 30 rubles.


?The poet Lev Losev was the young Brodsky's friend in Leningrad in the 1960s. Losev emigrated to the United States soon after his famous colleague's departure, and they remained very close. Earlier this year Losev co-edited "The Works and Life of Joseph Brodsky," published in Russia. A few weeks ago he published a collection of verses inspired by his friend and an essay about the poet. The 56-page book titled "Afterword" (Poslesloviye) is published by the Pushkinsky Fond and can be bought for 12 rubles.