Showing posts from July, 2023

The Gift: Joseph Brodsky and the fortunes of misfortune.

  May 16, 2011 From the issue of May 23, 2011   From the issue of May 23, 2011 Brodsky experienced all the struggles of his generation on his own hide, as the Russians say. His exile was no exception. Photographed, in 1980, by Irving Penn. Photograph from © 1980 Condé Nast Publications, Inc. In the fall of 1963, in Leningrad, in what was then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the young poet Dmitry Bobyshev stole the young poet Joseph Brodsky’s girlfriend. This was not cool. Bobyshev and Brodsky were close friends. They often appeared, in alphabetical order, at public readings around Leningrad. Bobyshev was twenty-seven and recently separated from his wife; Brodsky was twenty-three and intermittently employed. Along with two other promising young poets, they’d been dubbed “the magical chorus” by their friend and mentor Anna Akhmatova, who believed that they represented a rejuvenation of the Russian p