The Complete Poems of
Louis Daniel Brodsky
edited by Sheri L. Vandermolen
Hardback and Paperback: 633 pp.
As the initial volume of an impressive series comprising the full collection of verse by Louis Daniel Brodsky, this book begins with Brodsky's first poem, written during his final months at Yale, in 1963, and traces the author's maturation into his apprentice years (when he was a young graduate student in English, at Washington University, in St. Louis), presenting the hundreds of poems, prose poems, and short, autobiographical prose works he had composed by June of 1967, when he launched his professional writing career.
These pieces serve not only as a measure of Brodsky’s evolution as a poet but as a human being, chronicling one man’s struggle to find his purpose in life, to make a place for himself in a society often at odds with his own convictions. His hopes, fears, and frustrations permeate the work, revealing the intense inner conflicts he felt compelled to set to paper, from individual matters — his indecision over vocational goals, his candid experiences with love and rejection, the overwhelming isolation inherent in his academic pursuits — to more global concerns, especially his acute awareness of the increasing social and political turbulence surrounding him.
By grappling with these issues in his writing, he explored passionate emotions, released tension, and, at times, resolved doubts evoked through his introspection. But more important, he used this outpouring to hone his creative skills and develop his personal and professional identity, ultimately creating this tangible record of his travail and his ecstasy, his certitude and his confusion, and, finally, his journey into the heart of the person he would never stop becoming — a poet.
When the last granules scratch the glass neck,
Alone in his own failing
With his attitude planted before
When wreaths are hung about