Derek Mahon

Nowhere To Go

Joseph Brodsky: A Literary Life

By

Yale University Press 333pp £25 order from our bookshop

Brodsky’s poetry is both addictive and exasperating. Addictive because, never satisfied, the reader keeps going back for more; exasperating because it eludes every attempt to pin it down. What was he saying? Russians like to remind you that the October Revolution was no sudden break with a feudal past, that the previous twenty years had seen significant changes: a new liberalism, industrial advance and so on. Culturally, of course, these years saw extraordinary achievements in music, art and literature that hardly need enumerating. The poets of the ‘Silver Age’ are read, both there and here, more widely than ever before, now that everything is available: Akhmatova, Pasternak, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva (a great favourite with Brodsky). There’s a continuity here, a renewal of the tradition.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,