Name: Russian poet Joseph Brodsky

Date:  1951 - 1975

Location:  Russia and Central Asia

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion


Artist: Joseph Brodsky

Confronting Bodies: Soviet government

Date of Action: 1959-1980s

Specific Location: Russia

Description of Artwork: Brodsky wrote poems about religion, culture, architecture, nature, parting exile, love and treachery. He has been compared to W.H. Auden and the English metaphysicals.

Description of Incident: Brodsky's first taste of censorship came in 1959 when the publisher of a poetry collection that included his poems was arrested. Brodsky was accused of debauchery, pessimism, social parasitism and anti-Soviet activities. He was sent to prison on the parasitism charge; the Soviet court decided that since he was a poet, he didn't really have a job. He left Russia in 1972 and was welcomed by western intellectuals. Brodsky travelled the world and continued to write. In 1972-1973 a four-volume collection of his work was published. The compilers were immediately arrested but the collection circulated surrepticiously.

Results of Incident: After glasnost and perestroika Brodsky's work began to flood into the Soviet Union. Now he is one of Russia's most celebrated writers.

Source: Censorship, A World Encyclopedia, ed. D. Jones

Submitted By: NCAC

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