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What are the main themes Joseph Brodsky writes about in his poetry?

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gabster11 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2011 at 5:47 PM via web

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What are the main themes Joseph Brodsky writes about in his poetry?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 30, 2011 at 1:54 PM (Answer #1)

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Joseph Brodsky writes about a variety of themes in his poetry. Poet W.H. Auden introduced a collection of Brodsky's poetry, stating that the theme Brodsky wrote about dealt with nature, the quality of life, the "human condition," and dying.

Roman, Carribean and Mexican literature provided Brodsky with the inspiration for many of his poems. Auden noted that drawing on this kind of writing, the poet mixed...

...the physical and the metaphysical, place and ideas about place, now and the past and the future.

During Brodsky's American exile from Russia, he produced a collection of old and newly written works in a volume called, To Urania: Selected Poems 1965–1985. The themes in this collection concentrated on "memory, home and loss."

One theme that kept reappearing in Brodsky's poetry reflected what he saw as the connection between the poet and society. He was confused as to why Americans did not embrace poetry the way Russians did, and he felt that poetry should be distributed to the masses (free) in the United States so that he could better understand poetry.

He suggested that the Western literary tradition was in part responsible for the world having overcome the catastrophes of the twentieth century, such as Nazism, Communism and the World Wars.

Brodsky's passion for poetry was not just reflected in his writing, but also in the way he viewed the world. He sincerely believed that poets and poetry could change the world—that poetry was more than a collection of words or an art form, but a language—a unique form of communication—with great power.

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