| Compiled by Peter Armenti, Digital Reference Specialist
U.S. Poet Laureate, 1991-92
Photograph by Bengt Jangfeldt
On May 10, 1991, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington
appointed Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) the fifth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. As noted in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Brodsky "was known for poetry in which he used complex rhythm and meter and extensive word play to address such themes as exile, loss, and death. He also frequently incorporated classical Western mythology and philosophy as well as Judeo-Christian theology into his works."1
Brodsky served one term as poet laureate, finishing his duties in spring 1992. During his term as laureate, Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry in public places--supermarkets, hotels, airports, hospitals--where people congregate and "can kill time as time kills them." Shortly after his term ended, Brodsky collaborated with Andrew Carroll to form The American Poetry & Literacy Project, whose mission is to increase American's access to poetry by distributing books in public places. One of the project's first efforts was to distribute free copies of Six American Poets, edited by Joel Conarroe and featuring works by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams to hotels, hospitals, and homeless shelters throughout the United States.
This guide compiles
links to resources on Joseph Brodsky throughout the Library
of Congress Web site, as well as links to external English-language Web sites
that include features on his life or selections
of his work. To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Digital Reference Section.
LISTEN: Joseph Brodsky reading his poetry, May 14, 1992. From the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature.
Library of Congress Web Site
•Press Releases, Articles
•Biographical Information, Poetry
•Interviews, Articles, and Conversations
•Joseph Brodsky in the News
(Some links open PDF files. Download a free version of the Adobe Reader.)
Press Releases, Articles
Official press release announcing Joseph Brodsky's appointment
as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry (PDF, 95 KB)
Library of Congress Gazette, May 17, 1991
"Brodsky Urges Publishers to Distribute Poetry to the Masses" (PDF, 362 KB)
Library of Congress Gazette, October 11, 1991
"Joseph Brodsky: Former Poet Laureate Helps Make Poetry Available to All"
Library of Congress Information Bulletin, June 14, 1993
"Death of a Poet Laureate: Joseph Brodsky Turned Exile into Inspiration"
Library of Congress Information Bulletin, February 19, 1996
Works by Joseph Brodsky in the Library of Congress online
catalog can be found under the following author heading:
Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996
Works about Joseph Brodsky can be found in the Library of
Congress online catalog under
subject headings that begin Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996.
Biographical Information, Poetry
Academy of American Poets
Biography of Joseph Brodsky, samples of his poetry, and a selected bibliography.
Enycylopedia Britannica entry on Joseph Brodsky.
Biography of Joseph Brosky, as well as links to his Nobel Prize presentation speech, banquet speech, and other resources.
Biography of Joseph Brodsky, bibliography of his writings, and suggestions for further reading.
Interviews, Articles, and Conversations
"Drinking Too Many Coffees with the Great Russian poet Joseph Brodsky"
The Guardian, April 2, 2017
"To Write, Stop Thinking" (Kathryn Harrison discussed Brodsky's poem "On Love")
The Atlantic, April 19, 2016
"Russians Honor Deceased Poet Brodsky on His 75th Birthday"
The Moscow Times, May 24, 2015
"Twin Passions: Joseph Brodsky's Love of Poetry in English"
Russia Beyond the Headlines, May 20, 2015
"Joseph Brodsky on How to Develop Your Taste in Reading"
Brain Pickings, February 17, 2014
"The Anti-Soviet Soviet Poet: Joseph Brodsky"
Poetry Foundation, August 23, 2011
"Remembering Joseph Brodsky"
The Post & Courier (Charleston, SC), June 1, 2008
"The Great Brodsky"
Times Literary Supplement, May 2, 2007 (review of a literary biography of Brodsky)
"Reminiscence: Joseph Brodsky"
Post Road Magazine, no. 8, Spring/Summer 2004
"Joseph Brodsky: A Virgilian Hero, Doomed Never to Return Home"
Nobelprize.org, December 12, 2003
"Remembering Joseph Brodsky"
Hoover Digest, no. 4, 2000
"Joseph Brodsky 1940-1996"
University of Michigan Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures, December 1996
"Remembering a Poet"
Online NewsHour, PBS, July 29, 1996
"Joseph Brodsky Interview"
Interviewed by Nick Watson, The Argotist Online (originally published in The Argotist magazine in February 1996)
Dispatches From Russia - Joseph Brodsky
Interviewed by Marcia DeSanctis in July 1987; reproduced in Tin House.
"Man is Not a Rock"
The Baffler no. 27, 2015. Translation of summer 1972 conversation with Elizbeth Markstein.
Featured Author: Joseph Brodsky
Archived reviews, articles and essays by and about Joseph Brodsky on the New York Times Web site. Free subscription required.
Brodsky reads "A Season"
The Academy of American Poets
YouTube Videos of Joseph Brodsky
YouTube search results for Joseph Brodsky. Many videos feature Brodsky reading.
CPR Classic Readings: Joseph Brodsky
Contemporary Poetry Review article; includes a reading of Brodsky's “I was born and grew up in the Baltic marshland.”
Critical information on Brodsky from Gale's Contemporary Literary Criticism series.
"Joseph Brodsky and the Fictions of Poetry, Including Vers Libre"
Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences 39, no. 2 (Summer 1993)
Joseph Brodsky in the News
News search on Joseph Brodsky
Blog entries on Joseph Brodsky, via Google Blog Search
1. Contemporary Literary Criticism, "Joseph Brodsky ," Gale, 2008. Reproduced in Literature Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/LitRC (accessed June 5, 2008).