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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For this is the city of the eye; your other faculties play a faint wtermark fiddle. Reflection is the property of liquid substances, and even on a rainy day one can always prove the superiority of one’s fidelity to that of glass by positioning oneself behind it. Left, right, up, and down swap places, and you can find your way around only if you are a native or given a cicerone.

Who recognized you as a poet? After all, for three centuries, nothing here reigned supreme.

Watermark: An Essay on Venice by Joseph Brodsky – review

Economy, of course, reflects demography; yet that is doubly sad, because beauty, instead of promising the world, gets reduced to being its reward.

Elizabeths, in Russian eyes, that was nothing to rave about and, anyhow, better than the nine grams of lead that his wartime radio spiels might have earned him elsewhere. It surrounds you like frozen seaweed, and the more you dart and dash about trying to get your bearings, the more you get lost. If you work in the evening you burn parthenons of candlesnot for ambience or better light, but for their illusory warmth; or else you move to the kitchen, light the gas stove, and shut the door.

It is written in small, maybe two page chapters. Because of the scarcity of space, people exist here in cellular proximity to one another, and life evolves with the immanent logic of gossip. The latter would coil, the former gnash its fangs. It is the same water that carried the Crusaders, the merchants, St.

Twelve hours later, of course, having landed in New York, I hit the worst possible mess in my lifeor the one that appeared that way at the time. Then our host turned a knob and I saw his silhouette framed by a door leading into an enfilade.


Somehow I am under the impression that one of them was called [Provincial Entertainments], but I am not sure. Both are capable of generating quite a lot. I am not looking for a naked waterrmark riding on a shell; I am looking for either a cloud or the crest of a wave hitting the shore at midnight. Reflecting on the narcissism of Venice: Hope, said Francis Bacon, is a good breakfast but a bad supper.

View all 30 comments. The city doesn’t rely on coal as much as it used to; now it’s gas.

Watermark by Joseph Brodsky

This has nothing to do with vanity or with the natural surplus of mirrors here, the main one being the very water. But since, like his wife, he, too, seemed to be a member of the CP, the job, I concluded, was best left to a comrade.

Its exposed jelly dwells with atavistic joy on reflected palazzi, spiky heels, gondolas, etc. If that doesn’t happen, it is either because the Almighty, too, doesn’t seem to have much in the way of alternatives, or because a thought itself possesses a water pattern.


A touch of your finger, let alone a brkdsky, would mean sheer destruction to them, as the shards of fabric scattered nearby on the parquet suggested. Regardless of such data’s uselessness, the eye keeps collecting it.

Overzealous agents of brkdsky netherworld bustling around the cholera-stricken city would often zero in on a badly dehydrated body, put their lips to his nostrils, and suck away his life spirit, thereby proclaiming him dead and fit to wateermark buried. So has the mosaic of the city’s own political jigsaw. Science Age of Humans. In the abstract season life seems more real than at any other, even in the Adriatic, because in winter everything is harder, more stark.

Other than that, I felt inconspicuous and fit to merge into the background or fill the frame of a low-budget whodunit or, more likely, brodskg. Il mercante di Veneziail primo atto dell’ Othello e il quarto canto del Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage ; poi Il carteggio Aspern, Il ritorno di Casanova, La morte a Venezia, Venezia salva non stupisce che in epoca post-decadentista Venezia abbia ispirato bbrodsky scrittori di lingua tedesca e ancora Concerto barocco, Passione, L’altra Venezia And with my back to Fondamente and San Michele, hugging the wall of the hospital, almost rubbing it with my left shoulder and squinting at the sun, I suddenly felt: That’s why furs fly here, as do suede, silk, linen, wool, and every other kind of fabric.


The city is narcissistic enough to turn your mind into an amalgam, unburdening it of its depths. By the same token, as long as this place exists, as long as winter light shines upon it, Kodak brldsky are the best investment. There is watermarm in me, I suppose, that always respects the physical side of human brosky, regardless of the content; the very movement of someone’s lips is more essential than what moves them. Scanning this city’s face for seventeen winters, I should by now be capable of pulling a credible Poussin-like job: Perhaps this idea was even of my own manufacture, but now I don’t remember.

What saves Venice, like Penelope, from her suitors is their rivalry, the competitive nature of capitalism boiled down to fat cats’ blood relations to different political parties.

So we gave short shrift to her membership in the Italian CP and her attendant sentiment toward our avant-garde simpletons of the thirties, attributing both to Western frivolity. Politicians and big businesses especially, for nothing has a greater future than money.

Marble inlaid tables, porcelain figurines, sofas, chairs, the very parquet. The pilgrim’s shoe, having tested the water, is drying atop his hotel room’s radiator; the native dives into his closet to fish out his pair of rubber boots.

It looked like early winter or late autumn, as the soldiers were in their winter overcoats.