Combining two books of verse that were first published in his native Russian, To Urania was Brodsky's third volume to appear in English. Published in 1988, the year after Brodsky was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, this collection features pieces translated by the poet himself and others, as well as poems written originally in English.
Auden once characterized Brodsky as "a traditionalist . . . interested in what lyric poets of all ages have been interested in . . . encounters with nature . . . reflections upon the human condition, death, and the meaning of existence." Reading the poems in To Urania—by turns cerebral, caustic, comic, and celebratory—we appreciate firsthand a great lyric poet's variety and achievement.