A Part of Speech

by Joseph Brodsky

Paperback, 1981





Farrar, Straus and Giroux, (1981)


"A Part of Speech" contains poems from the years 1965-1978, translated by various hands.

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LibraryThing member jonfaith
A loyal subject of these second-rate years,
I proudly admit that my finest ideas
are second-rate, and may the future take them
as trophies of my struggle against suffocation.
I sit in the dark. And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse: the dark inside, or the darkness out.

I sent the above to host of people the other day, a warmish winter day, wet and windy when I felt so present and engaged if only to the fleeting.

Brodsky spoke to me.

He is the nexus of numerous cross currents, a pulsing collapse of the heartfelt onto the soberly observational. Etymologically, Gospel means good news and I'm not sure I could welcome such by either label these days.

And in my throat, where a boring tale
or tea, or laughter should be the norm,
snow grows all the louder and "Farewell!"
darkens like Scott wrapped in a polar storm.

This is what I need now.… (more)


Original language



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