Memory, death, love, beauty, dreams – Brodsky touches on all of these in this wonderfully evocative book, says PD Smith. A very, very short prose-exercise by Nobelist Brodsky about Venice, his many wintertime trips there, the enchantment and ironies and visual. As much a brooding self-portrait as a lyric description of Venice, poet Brodsky’s quirky, impressionistic essay describes his year romance with a city of.

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A poor man always speaks for the present, and perhaps the sole function of collections like Peggy Guggenheim’s and the similar accretions of this century’s stuff habitually mounted here is to show what a cheap, self-assertive, ungenerous, one-dimensional lot we have become, to instill humility in us: If the reader now suffers, that’s why.

Watermark: An Essay on Venice by Joseph Brodsky – review

So the little wriggling shoal in the linen sea was, in fact, in tune with the premises, since it couldn’t in nature give birth to anything. From a distance you couldn’t tell its nationality.

Highly recommended for anyone who has been to Venice and gotten lost or anyone who is curious about Joseph Brodsky, a poet laureate of the United States and a Russian involuntarily exiled from Russia, his country of birth. Like many books of the twenties, it was fairly shortsome two hundred pages, no moreand its pace was brisk.

Yet insinuation as a principle of city planning which notion locally emerges only with the benefit of hindsight is better than any modern grid and in tune with the local canals, taking their cue from water, which, like the chatter behind you, never ends.

Brodsky rejected suggestions that he be buried back home in Russia. Depending on that invasion’s intensity, you get a scent, a smell, a stench. On winter evenings the sea, welled by a contrary easterly, fills every canal to the brim like a bathtub, and at times overflows them. For some people, it’s freshly cut grass or hay; for others, Christmas scents of conifer needles and tangerines. Watermark Equal parts extended autobiographical essay and prose poem, Brodsky’s book turns his eye to the seductive and enigmatic city of Venice.


In fact, the more useless the data, the sharper the focus. Everyone would understand this, save Freudians, or Muslims believing in the veil. Of all people, a poet should have known that time knows no distance between Rapallo and Lithuania. One never knows what engenders what: Brodsky makes love to Venice on paper. There are plenty of guidebooks to Venice, and plenty of fictional accounts by writers who lived there and fell in love with the city.

It entices you in: Then my Ariadne vanished, leaving behind a fragrant thread of her expensive was it Shalimar?

No trivia or quizzes yet. The three village lads drew their heads into their shoulders and were squinting the way a child does anticipating pain.

Though his voice is a sensual one and he is obviously thinking bfodsky sex whenever he looks at brossky Venetian cathedral or a torn up curtain or a crumbling apartment facade he lacks a power and a direction and a virility in his writing that I found very depressing from a nobel winner.

What follows, therefore, has to do with the eye rather than with convictions, including those as to how to run a narrative. On riding gondolas in Venice I have to agree with the exorbitant price: Please provide an email address. It always got better after a month or so, but then I’d be boarding the plane that would remove me from the opportunity to use it for another year.

The City Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky Called Paradise | Travel | Smithsonian

Oddly enough, I felt no repulsion. You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, pearl-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers. On water, for instance, you never get absentminded the way you do in the street: Yet nothing of the sort, I must report, ever happened to me here; though as I write this, I keep my fingers and toes crossed.

He and I had met only briefly the previous day, so I was surprised when he invited me to take a seat across from him. Sickness alone, no matter how grave it may be, won’t avail you here of an infernal vision. Long before it succeeded, the silence would be restored. Is this metaphoric thinking? The only difference is that her heaven is far better settled than mine. And we learn that his fascination and obsession with Venice was born, in a manner that would have enchanted the Surrealists, out of kitsch objects from his Russian childhood as well as out of a run-of-the-mill book.


For that “structure” as they called it in those days alone, I thought, he should be cuckolded. Still, winter is an abstract season: The core of this essay is a homage to Venice and its beauty.

Joseph Brodsky. Watermark | Личная библиотека и записная книжка

The owner was a forest engineer or some such thing, and was, naturally, away on business. As these go, this city is the closest. On the brighter side there are, of course, lots of lions: The boat’s slow progress through the night was like the passage of a coherent thought through the subconscious. Humans Reached the Roof of the World 40, Years. I am sharing this essay with everyone who reads because it is so delightful and the cognitive effort you make to comprehend Brodsky’s metaphors is a gratifying experience.

When the brodsmy fails to find beautyalias solaceit commands watermatk body to create it, or, failing that, adjusts itself to perceive virtue in ugliness. Left, right, up, and down swap places, and you can find your way around only if you are a native or given a cicerone. Jan 13, Abby rated it it was amazing Shelves: And yet, at the time of his death by heart attack inhe had left no clear instructions about exactly where he should be interred.

Add to this, tubercular poets and composers; add to this, men of moronic convictions or aesthetes hopelessly enamored of this placeand the Embankment might earn its name, reality might catch up with language.