BRODSKY, Joseph (1940-96), Russian-born poet and Nobel laureate, born in Saint Petersburg (then known as Leningrad). Deeply influenced by Russian and English literature, he began writing poetry in his late teens and became a protégé of Anna Akhmatova. He was denounced in the Soviet press in 1963. Arrested and tried as a “parasite” by the Soviet government in 1964, he was sentenced to five years in a labor camp but was released after less than two years because of international protests.
Expelled from the USSR in 1972, Brodsky settled in the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen in 1977. Writing in both Russian and English, his books of poetry include A Part of Speech (1980) and To Urania (1988); Watermark (1992) is a book of prose (a long essay on Venice). He has published two plays, Democracy! and Marbles. Less Than One (1986), a collection of essays, won a National Book Critics Circle award for criticism and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award. His poetry has been published in twelve languages. In 1987 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. He was chosen by the Library of Congress to serve as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1992. Joseph Brodsky was Andrew Mellon Professor of Literature at Mount Holyoke College, and resided in New York.