Literature: Joseph Brodsky: Lyrics Of Loss

Honor for a Soviet emigre poet and an M.I.T. economist


Adrift in his native city of Leningrad in 1969, the young poet had good reason to feel depressed. He had spent 18 months laboring on a state farm in the Arctic, convicted by a Soviet court of being a "social parasite." Released but still convinced that his mission on earth was to write rather than surrender his skills to the dictates of the state, he faced bleak prospects: the official campaign to discredit him had taken on undertones of anti- Semitism, and his work was being subjected to the annihilating silence of suppression. So he composed "The End of a...

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