Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Magical Chorus

Very nice essay on Joseph Brodsky, by Keith Gessen, in this month's New Yorker, which recaps his life both in his own words and those of others like his great friend, Lev Loseff, whose biography has recently been published in English.  Loved Brodsky's description of his first meeting with Auden, which he wrote to Loseff,

W. H. Auden drinks his first martini dry at 7:30 in the morning, after which he sorts his mail and reads the paper, marking the occasion with a mix of sherry and scotch. After this he has breakfast, which can consist of anything so long as it’s accompanied by the local dry pink and white, I don’t remember in which order. At this point he sets to work. Probably because he uses a ballpoint pen, he keeps on the desk next to him, instead of an inkwell, a bottle or can of Guinness, which is a black Irish beer that disappears in the course of the creative process. At around 1 o’clock he has lunch. Depending on the menu, this lunch is decorated by this or that rooster’s tail, or cocktail. After lunch, a nap, which is, I think, the only dry point of the day.

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