Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992 and winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature.
"What concerns me is that man, unable to articulate, to express himself adequately, reverts to action. Since the vocabulary of action is limited, as it were, to his body, he is bound to act violently, extending his vocabulary with a weapon where there should have been an adjective."
Astonished that poetry had so little place in our society, Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry free to members of the public, in public places - supermarkets, hotels, airports, hospitals, . . . "anyplace people congregate and can kill time as time kills them."
The result was The American Poetry & Literacy Project, a national, non-profit organization created by Brodsky and a young author named Andrew Carroll.
They hoped that the books might help people find some comfort and companionship and believe it or not, the idea was a bit controversial when Brodsky proposed it.
In addition, the Academy fosters the readership of poetry through outreach activities such as National Poetry Month.
Here are a few of the books published for The American Poetry & Literacy Project:
And now for some poetry:
I wish you were here, dear, I wish you were here. I wish you sat on the sofa And I sat near. The handkerchief could be yours, the tear could be mine, chin-bound. Though it could be, of course, the other way around.
I wish you were here, dear, I wish you were here. I wish we were in my car, and you'd shift the gear. We'd find ourselves elsewhere, on an unknown shore. Or else we'd repair to where we've been before.
I wish you were here, dear, I wish you were here. I wish I knew no astronomy when stars appear, when the moon skims the water that sighs and shifts in its slumber. I wish it were still a quarter to dial your number.
I wish you were here, dear, in this hemisphere, as I sit on the porch sipping a beer. It's evening, the sun is setting; boys shout and gulls are crying. What's the point of forgetting if it's followed by dying?