Monday, December 13, 2010

Sketchy Poet

Untitled drawing by Joseph Brodsky / Image courtesy of the the National Library of Russia

Today in St. Petersburg, the National Library of Russia opened a new exhibit called "Hourglass: Drawings by Joseph Brodsky," featuring unpublished sketches by the Russian poet from a number of sources: the library's archives, the Anna Akhmatova Museum, and private collections. The exhibit also includes copies of drawings that Brodsky made during his years in the United States, as well as some of his photographs. According to the library's press release, "The drawings reflect yet another aspect of Joseph Brodsky's talent and are an important resource for the study of his life and work." Besides the images, the library has on display manuscripts of poems, excerpts from letters, and notebook entries.

As it so happens, the walls of my office at Saint Martin's University are adorned with printed copies of two drawings by Brodsky: a self-portrait and a sketch of Derek Walcott. Both come from Yale's Beinecke Library, whose website allows anyone to view a number of Brodsky's drawings and photographs from his manuscript collection. (Just search using the keyword "Brodsky.")

If any readers of this blog happen to be in St. Petersburg and find the time to drop by the exhibit at the National Library, I'd love to hear what you think! Unfortunately, the exhibit will be short-lived: it closes on December 31.

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