The Complete Poems of Louis Daniel Brodsky
Volume Three, 1976–1980

edited by Sheri L. Vandermolen

Hardback and Paperback: 807 pp.
Published: 2005

Price: $42.50, $27.95




The third volume of The Complete Poems of Louis Daniel Brodsky presents over seven hundred poems, written from July 1976 through December 1980. By this period in his life, Brodsky had a wife and two children, a thriving business that kept him traveling, and a passion for acquiring Faulkneriana, sparked by his deep appreciation of the author’s literature, that had led him on increasingly frequent journeys to Oxford, Mississippi, and elsewhere, to meet those who knew Faulkner and those who might supplement Brodsky’s expanding collection.

Spending considerably more time away from home than ever before, he began to compose most of his poems while driving, eating in small-town cafés, staying in motels, and retreating to bars after twelve-hour workdays, always filling his omnipresent notebook with new images and metaphors. It was during these trips that Brodsky conceived many of his poetic personae: Willy Sypher, the ragman road peddler; the pensive Jew, who, although he lost no family in it, still feels he’s a victim of the Holocaust; the Northern outlander, who appears in many of his "Southern" poems; the nature poet, who captures the beauty of rural America, and cynical city poet, who observes its bigotry and vulgarity; and the unhappy family man, who feels he must escape home, for the freedom of the open road, but nevertheless suffers guilt and remorse.
The poems from this segment of Brodsky’s literary career reflect a man, in his mid and late thirties, facing growing desperation as he attempts to fulfill the complex responsibilities of his day-to-day commitments and yet address an unrelenting compulsion to record his frenetic life, in verse.

Read the Introduction.





Looking for Homes

Each place I go is foreboding,
So that nowhere is there a destination
That comforts my estranged soul.

The weary spirit, long inured
To the implacable forced marches
Imposed by survival, grieves for its freedom,

Prays for relief from its uprootedness
From God. Some evenings,
I can even hear the moon whispering,

Lamenting my wayward condition,
Begging me to cease roaming,
Calm down, and make peace

With the demons that set me fleeing
Originally. Only, I don't know
How to start stopping, to slow down,

Close the opening ever widening,
As I ride from town to town
Like a gear spinning on an axle of years

That transmits power through me,
To a final source of energy,
While I remain perfectly static.

Perhaps one day
The sweet siren of eternal sleep, Lethe,
Will invite me in for the night,

And I will stay on,
At her behest, a permanent guest
In the house kept by Mistress Death.




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