Joseph Brodsky

Joseph Brodsky served as Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987. His poetry has not yet been set to music by American composers, but has been set by European composers such as Olga Neuwirth, Alexandr Raskatov, and Alfred Schnittke.

Photo: Joseph Brodsky, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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“Brodsky, born in Leningrad, left school at age 15 and worked at many occupations, including a milling machine operator and a geologist-prospector. He began writing poetry at age 18 and studied with Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. After Brodsky was exiled in 1972, he came to the United States. He wrote nine volumes of poetry, including the 1980 acclaimed collection A Part of Speech. His 1986 collection of essays, Less Than One, won the National Book Critic’s Award for criticism. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987.”

–Library of Congress Poets Laureate page

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