KONOSHA. In 1964-65 the young poet Joseph Brodsky was exiled to village Norenskaya, outside railway junction Konosha in the south-western part of Arkhangelsk Region. The 23 year old writer had been sentenced to forced labor in the countryside, accused for “social parasitism”. These 18 months turned out to be one of the best periods in the life of the future Nobel Prize winner. He lived alone in a cottage, worked on a farm and also at a photo shop in town, received friends and colleagues from St Petersburg and wrote poems, among them “Tractors at dawn” (see below) published in a local newspaper.
Literature professor Elena Galimova, Arkhangelsk, writes:
”Going to work in the field at six o’clock in the morning, summer, winter or autumn, and realize that half of the population where doing the same, the young intellectual Brodsky felt a strong bond with the people, and broadened his narrow and urban outlook.”
Brodsky was forced to leave the Soviet Union in 1972, settled down in USA and received the Nobel Prize for Literature 1987 for his poems, essays and plays. He died in New York 1996, at the age of 55.
In Konosha, a museum is devoted to Brodsky, and last weekend (16-18/5) the Konosha public library arranged a literature festival in honour of the writer. Beside the literature program, there was also a photo contest and a literature contest for school children. Around 40 guests from St Petersburg, Arkhangelsk and other Russian cities took part in the event, coordinator Natalya Maligina, at the Konosha library reports. /KM
Joseph Brodsky reads his poem ”A Song”
Tractors at dawn
Tractors awake with the cockerels, cockerels awake with the tractors, with the motors and plowshares, cleaving the silence with axes. Up to their knees in the morning mist, they line up along the front. The silence falls apart like logs, along both sides of the horizon. Stoves are stoked. Smoke winds directly upwards. Birds bend over their fledglings. The forest, like a gigantic saw-frame, splits the clouds with its teeth. And the sun comes up. And it looks blindly, slicing the sleepy huts with its rays. And the tractors rise up, like birds into the sky and raise the fields up to the sun with their plows! This is a morning of work, a morning of the People! A morning of labour. With an ancient smile. It looks upon the people of Nature, as if into a great river. It gets up, reflected all the while, from its sleep with the village.