Nativity Poems (Paperback)

Nativity Poems Cover Image
By Joseph Brodsky, Joseph Brodsky (Translated by), Melissa Green (Translated by), Seamus Heaney (Translated by), Glyn Maxwell (Translated by), Paul Muldoon (Translated by), Derek Walcott (Translated by), Richard Wilbur (Translated by), Mikhail Lemkhin (Translated by), Anthony Hecht (Translated by)
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Description


Christmas poems by the Nobel Laureate

To Him, all things seemed enormous: His mother's breast, the
steam out
of the ox's nostrils, Caspar, Balthazar, Melchior, the team
of Magi, the presents heaped by the door, ajar.
He was but a dot, and a dot was the star.
--from "Star of the Nativity"

Joseph Brodsky, who jokingly referred to himself as "a Christian by correspondence," endeavored from the time he "first took to writing poems seriously," to write a poem for every Christmas. He said in an interview: "What is remarkable about Christmas? The fact that what we're dealing with here is the calculation of life--or, at the very least, existence--in the consciousness of an individual, a specific individual." He continued, "I liked that concentration of everything in one place--which is what you have in that cave scene." There resulted a remarkable sequence of poems about time, eternity, and love, spanning a lifetime of metaphysical reflection and formal invention.

In Nativity Poems six superb poets in English have come together to translate the ten as yet untranslated poems from this sequence, and the poems are presented in English in their entirety in a beautiful, pocket-sized edition illustrated with Mikhail Lemkhin's photographs of winter-time St. Petersburg.

About the Author


Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) came to the United States in 1972, an involuntary exile from the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991 and 1992.

Joseph Brodsky (1940-96) came to the United States in 1972, an involuntary exile from the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991 and 1992.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His poems, plays, translations, and essays include Opened Ground, Electric Light, Beowulf, The Spirit Level, District and Circle, and Finders Keepers. Robert Lowell praised Heaney as the "most important Irish poet since Yeats."

Glyn Maxwell was born in 1962 in Welwyn Garden City, England. He is the author of several collections of poems, including Out of the Rain (1992), for which he received a Somerset Maugham Award; Rest for the Wicked (1995), which was short-listed for both the Whitbread Poetry Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize; and The Breakage (1998), which was short-listed for both the T.S. Eliot and the Forward Poetry (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) prizes. Maxwell lives in London.

Paul Muldoon is the author of several books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Moy Sand and Gravel (FSG, 2002) and, most recently, Maggot (FSG, 2010). He is the Howard G. B. Clark University Professor at Princeton.

Derek Walcott (1930-2017) was born in St. Lucia, the West Indies, in 1930. His Collected Poems: 1948-1984 was published in 1986, and his subsequent works include a book-length poem, Omeros (1990); a collection of verse, The Bounty (1997); and, in an edition illustrated with his own paintings, the long poem Tiepolo's Hound (2000). His numerous plays include The Haitian Trilogy (2001) and Walker and The Ghost Dance (2002). Walcott received the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1988 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

Praise For…


“Most poets would benefit from having Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Richard Wilbur, and Anthony Hecht render their poems in English--even if the poems were in English already [and in these versions] at times you hear something, not like a bell, but like an echo, of what this poet must sound like in Russian . . . Brodsky, who liked to pass Christmas in Venice, that sinking monument to the decay of architecture and belief, saw with what magnificence a skeptic could contemplate centuries past--these poems express a fealty to the past without being enslaved by it. And there is, almost like frailty, the doubt beneath Brodsky's doubt--you sense he felt the myths might just possibly be true ...” —William Logan, The New Criterion
Product Details
ISBN: 9780374528577
ISBN-10: 0374528578
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: November 13th, 2002
Pages: 128
Language: Russian