New York, New York
41 at time of award
January 28, 1996
Area of Focus
Published June 1, 1981

Joseph Brodsky was a poet and an essayist who explored the themes of exile and loss.

Brodsky’s work became known in the West following his exile from the Soviet Union.  His poetry and essays reflected his interest in Russian, English, and American literature, politics, and language.  Brodsky’s works of poetry in English include Selected Poems (1973), A Part of Speech (1980), To Urania (1988), and So Forth (1995).  Brodsky was also the author of three volumes of essays: Less Than One (1986), Watermark (1992), and On Grief and Reason (1995).  In 1990, a collection of his poems was published in the Soviet Union for the first time.  His poems have been published in numerous anthologies and journals, including the New York Review of Books, the Nouvelle Revue Française, the New Yorker, and the Russian Review, among many others.

Brodsky was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Literature at Mount Holyoke College.  He also served as a poet-in-residence at the University of Michigan and as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1987, and was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991.

Brodsky emigrated from the USSR to the United States in 1972.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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