A Part of Speech, Less Than One, To Urania, Marbles, & Watermark
Joseph Brodsky, a winner of the Noble Prize, was the United States National Poet Laureate in 1991. Born in what was then Leningrad, Soviet Union, he grew up in a communal apartment, and was very active in language and literary pursuits. In 1963, a Leningrad newspaper denounced Brodsky, calling his poetry pornographic and anti-Soviet. He was interrogated and twice put in mental institutions. His papers were seized. He was arrested and indicted on the charge of parasitism. In a secret trial, he was called a “pseudo-poet in velveteen trousers,” who failed to fulfill his “constitutional duty to work honestly for the good of the motherland.” Yet no fault was found in the content of his poetry. One of the more interesting comments Joseph Brodsky made as a guest was that there should be a book of poetry in every hotel room, right next to the Bible. He said that he didn’t think that the telephone book would mind. Joseph Brodsky died on January 28th of 1996, a world-class poet.
Originally Broadcast: November 18, 1991