Brodsky vs Yevtushenko: the history of an unresolved conflict
Brodsky vs Yevtushenko: the history of an unresolved conflict
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Joseph Brodsky and Evgeny Yevtushenko

The conflict between the two brightest representatives of Russian poetry of the twentieth century. - Evgeny Yevtushenko and Joseph Brodsky - has been going on for half a century, however, its participants are now not the founders themselves, but fans of their work. Two representatives of the same era are called the last Soviet poet (Yevtushenko) and the first non-Soviet poet (Brodsky). Yevtushenko recognizes the story with Brodsky as "his most painful place." What did the two famous and undoubtedly talented poets not share?

Joseph Brodsky

The history of their uneasy relationship began in 1965, after the return of Joseph Brodsky from exile (in 1964 he was convicted of parasitism). Yevtushenko, among others, contributed to his release. Upon arrival, he invited the exiled poet to a restaurant, and they spent the next two weeks side by side. Yevtushenko recalls: “I immediately invited Brodsky, without any permission from the authorities, to read poetry at my author's evening in the Communist Auditorium of Moscow State University. This was his first public appearance in front of several hundred listeners, but he also did not mention this anywhere - apparently, so that his Western publishers would not even have an idea that their dissident author could morally afford to speak in an audience with such a name. " …

Evgeny Evtushenko The first non-Soviet poet Joseph Brodsky

In 1972 Brodsky had to leave the country. At the request of the KGB, he had to leave the USSR in a matter of days. In the KGB, he unexpectedly met with Yevtushenko, who was summoned there because of the import of prohibited literature from America. Brodsky considered that the reason was different - allegedly Yevtushenko was consulted about his person and it was he who insisted that Brodsky was expelled from the country. He called Yevtushenko a KGB informer and accused him of his expulsion. Brodsky was very upset about his exile, he did not want to leave.

The last Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko Joseph Brodsky

When Brodsky settled in America, Yevtushenko helped him get a job at Queens College. And after Brodsky's death, he learned that when he himself wanted to work there, Brodsky wrote a letter to the college management asking them not to hire Yevtushenko as "a man of anti-American views."

Joseph Brodsky

Sergei Dovlatov recalled that when Brodsky heard that Yevtushenko opposed collective farms, he said: "If he is against, I am for." At the same time, Brodsky did not deny the poetic talent of "Evtukh" (as he called him in absentia), and even admitted that he knew his poems by heart "200 lines - 300 lines."

Evgeny Yevtushenko in his mature years

The conflict between the two titans has been interpreted in different ways. Someone called it a dispute between the opportunist Yevtushenko and the rebel Brodsky, explaining the essence of the discrepancies by the fact that Yevtushenko knew how to negotiate and put up with the authorities, and Brodsky was known for his intransigence and non-conformism. Someone considered Brodsky an elite poet, and Yevtushenko - a mass poet. Someone called their conflict "the battle of PR-kings" with the only disagreement - in political views. Of course, this conflict is not confined to a political background and the inexplicable attitude of the poets to the USSR or America. In their dispute, the aesthetic and worldview principles are primary, and it is hardly possible in this sense to recognize one of them as right and the other as guilty.

Evgeny Yevtushenko and Joseph Brodsky are irreconcilable friends

“I consider him a person with whom we have not agreed.Perhaps our poems will already talk to each other, and I think they will agree on something,”Yevtushenko said in an interview with Solomon Volkov, and perhaps this is the best epilogue to this story. And after rereading Brodsky's poems, you can find at least 7 reasons to never leave your room

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