Four and Twenty Blackbirds Soaring

Hardback and Paperback: 91 pp.
Published: 1989
Price: $18.95, $12.50




This sampler, divided into six sections, each containing eight poems devoted to one subject — Imagination, Alienation, Lovesongs, Poet, The Heartland, and Transcendence — introduces Brodsky's readership to the breadth of his thematic range and might indeed be considered a "garden book of verse."




Formalist in structure but "confessional" in tone, Brodsky's poems are civilized, urbane, polite, their language . . . akin to that of good, cultured conversation.

— Choice


A collection that represents the best of Louis Brodsky's poetry. It contains all the variations . . . keenly edged satire . . . elegant and witty whimsy . . . the charming meditation on man's estate in this world.

— Cleanth Brooks, author of The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry





My Flying Machine 

Once again, I'm integrated with machinery,
Insulated. My nerves are cables
Stretching from pulley to pulley to aileron
And elevator. My mind is a panel
Crowded with instruments and toggle switches,
A cockpit of fidgeting needles and dials.
My tremulous eyes become gyros
Functioning in vacuums, like silent worlds
Turning in space. My ears are tuned
To Pitot-static tubes
That check the speed of dreams, along this odyssey.

The same flesh that protects my bones
Stretches over wings and fuselage
Fluting through zones of winds aloft.
This unearthly machine burns my blood,
Exhausts unoxygenated thoughts
And exploded harmonies, accelerates rhyme
Toward selected climaxes in time.
Only my voice, of the elements absorbed,
Remains unchanged and controlled by me.
It flies inside the slipstream
Each song I write leaves in its wake.





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