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Collected Poems in English Paperback – 8 Apr 2002

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Paperback, 8 Apr 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc; Reprint edition (8 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528386
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.8 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,061,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jun 2001
Format: Hardcover
The book contains all of Brodsky's published poems in English. (All the ones that have appeared in books form). Based on the three titles of poetry published in English during his lifetime; "A Part of Speech", "To Urania" and "So Forth". In addition this collection includes a chapter of uncollected poems and translations by Brodsky of other poets works; about twenty poems. Amongst these are poems by Wislawa Szymborska, Osip Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetaeva.
The poems are written in English directly, or translated from Russian, either by the author himself or by Brodsky in collaboration with other translators.
It's a nice collection, but it offers little new if you already own the three prior books. One good exception is an extensive section of notes to the poems that are most informative. It is also worth mentioning that in the foreword of the book a second collection of poems is promised to be underway, this one containing poems translated from Russian outside of Brodsky's supervision.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
don't believe the hype 11 Dec 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Don't believe the petty, narrow-minded balderdash about supposed poor translations. Duh, he wrote in another language that most English speakers don't know and aren't about to learn, and it has to be translated so we can read it in English. Wow. The author, who is one of the greatest poets of the century, either translated it himself or had help from other giants of poetry, so it's how he wanted it - and it's brilliant. So it isn't exactly how it was in Russian...Ok, but it's still better than most of the poetry published in the last 50 years. Don't listen to the whining nit-pickers, and enjoy this wonderful collection. If it was up to them [those who are against translation in general] and their grotesque elitism, we wouldn't have anything translated into or out of English, or into or out of any other language, and that would be a disaster. Plus translations aren't anyway near as problematic as they think, but there's no space to go into that here.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Brodsky: a master in a tradition of masters 17 Jun 2010
By R. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had immersed myself in the Russian poets who were Brodsky's precursors (Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, Blok), then started reading him, since Akhmatova referred to him at the end of her life. (Brodsky's attendance at Akhmatova's funeral was one of the reasons the Soviet authorities went after him.) At the beginning I found Brodsky's complexity, and the oddness of his figures of speech, disappointing. But I kept coming back to him. Some of it still seems odd, stilted, but I suspect that some of this is due to translation difficulties. And some of the oddness disappears as I read more and learn his utterly original mode of thinking.
His poems are really growing on me. I would have said a month ago that my favorite is "The Butterfly"; but I find myself coming back again and again to "Lullaby of Cape Cod" and "Nunc Dimittis". "The New Jules Verne" is one of the funniest poems I've ever read. "Fin de Siecle"--about growing old (or, more accurately, growing unhealthy)--has just about the most meaningful ending, for me, of anything I've ever read.
I read "Lullaby of Cape Cod" twice today. I can't get its images out of my head: the loss of his home in Russia, what a hot Massachusetts summer night is like, all that can be learned from time and night, the fantasy of Atlantic codfish coming to the door--this is a poem about Cape COD, after all! The man does have a sense of humor-- with which he finally manages to lull himself to sleep.
This is the best book of his poetry. The translations are fairly consistent in tone, especially since he usually either translated them himself or advised those who did. If you buy it, be patient with it. Brodsky rewards patience.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
On Brodsky 31 Dec 2002
By Flounder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a large and lovely book. It collects the most significant and important verse of J. Brodsky, winner of the Nobel prize. I highly recommend it.
Brodsky speaks of history's fortune and fate as he attempts a clarification of the poet's role in a world gone amuck. There are some gems here: "On Love," "I Sit By the Window," "Odysseus to Telemachus," "The Butterfly," "Torso," "Elegy: For Robert Lowell," and "Cafe Trieste: SF," to name a few.
Brodsky's poetic voice is imaginative and celestial. His words are as light and time-transcendent as the cloud-walk of heavenly angels.
I also recommend: Z. Herbert, C. Milosz, R. Hass, W. Szymborska, A. Zagajewski, and R. Jeffers.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A great collection 30 May 2007
By j - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This collection brings together Brodsky's work in English, much of which he has been intimately involved in translating. This becomes important in that, for those of us who do not speak Russian, these poems can be considered direct from Brodsky's hand, as opposed to coming through the often suspect medium of independent translator. (This seems to have been discussed in many of these reviews and is well examined in the Forward to this book.) Moreover, Brodsky's attention to meter and rhyme schemes are unerringly original and his ability with the English language is astonishing, surprising, taking the world apart in language and puts it back together in image.

The edition is very appealing. Thick but easy to read.
18 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Then it hit me � he is dead! 16 Feb 2001
By Michael Sympson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lately I havenÕt paid much attention to American Poetry. Provincial minds who spill their prosy guts over America's kitchen sink or worse and who belong into one of Ophra's spirituality binges. So it completely slipped me by, that the US had a Russian as poet laureate; the name was not familiar. Then I found his collected poems. Critics point to howlers in the translation, especially if committed by the author himself: it is true, there is space for improvement. But to blame it on the justified demand that translations of poetry have to be faithful to content and structure, rather points to inhibitions in the criticÕs judgement. As for me: I found at long last another poet of stature and rank. And yes he deserves a better presentation. (It can be done!) I became interested in his biography - born 1940 ... and then it hit me: he is already dead. And I felt sad, as if I had missed the arrival of a long lost relative.
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