serves the poet well by gathering images of Leningrad whose visual language
encourages the same degrees of attention and communication Brodsky's poetry
demands. Here and there, images of Brodsky appear, always, it seems, with
cigarette in hand, smiling eyes, the eyes of a poet. And what are the
eyes of a poet? What does a poet see? Lemkhin's beautiful book may not
answer these questions, but it comes close. With short, valuable, and
touching written contributions by Czeslaw Milosz and Susan Sontag, the
book merits hours of just sitting and looking.
Raul Nino, Booklist
The scenes seem to me to capture the essence of the Leningrad /.../.
I don't know how this book could been better...
Enriched by Czeslaw Milosz's foreword and Susan Sontag's moving,
elegiac afterword, Lemkhin has successfully - and beautifully - arranged
the many shards of his book into that whole, single portrait to which
I thought Fragments was smashing
This is a Brodsky seen from different points-of-view: by the indistinct
gaze from an auditorium of the listener engrossed by the poet's recitation;
by a psychologist, attentively noting the nuances of his moods; by an
artist, attempting to uncover the mystery of talent. /ů/Lemkhin's book
is lyrical and meditative; that is, it recreates through a different
artistic medium the favorite genre of Brodsky - the elegy. The elegy
is a nostalgic genre. One peers into the Lemkhin's mesmerizing photos
of Leningrad, trying to 'recognize' Brodsky now amongst the crowd, now
in the hazy figure across the street, or maybe in the schoolboy that
ran out into the street in the middle of a recess.
...A moving visual tribute, taken over a 25-year period, to the
great poet Brodsky and the city he loved. Black and white images capture
the feel of life behind what used to be called the Iron Curtain, and
a heritage that goes beyond ideology.
An excellent book!
...Aesthetic of Lemkhin as an artist is unusually analogous to
Brodsky's restrained and resolute diction, at once ironical and tragic.
I estimate that to describe what is contained in a small photo
by Lemkhin would take up at least one to two pages of legible-size print.
That is, the density of these masterpieces of visual art is higher than
that of a written text of the same area.
The book is excellent. Its structure, its composition, organization
of spreads - their compositions - are the work of genius. It is a tragic
city and a tragic man. And the finale - last two spreads - just a real
Lemkhin's collection of photographs juxtaposes portraits of Brodsky
with intimate and distant views of the city. /.../ His photos are `inexhaustible
invitations` to a number of voyages, not just ~to deduction, speculation,
and fantasy~ but to the sublime words of Brodsky and his predecessors.
It is an intensely evocative portrait of what Brodsky saw, knew
and responded to.
One, of course, may say that we are here presented with Brodsky's
Leningrad: its themes, seagulls, its streets and its environs, its characters
and faces. Lemkhin's book may be viewed/read from that angle. But I
think that Fragments will gain yet another dimension if we discern the
author's intonation: the voice of an author telling a story of his Leningrad,
the almost mythical city whose many traits were personified in the poet
that absorbed into himself all that epitomized Leningrad for us, his
contemporaries. From a mosaic of recollections, the author composes
a portrait of that man, a poet and a Leningradian that remained a Leningradian
in New York as well as in Venice.
These 186 black-and-white images are fruition of Lemkhin's enduring
attachment to his native city as well as the late Nobel laureate.
Mikhail Lemkhin presents a fascinating portrait of Nobel laureate
poet Joseph Brodsky and his city, Leningrad.
The frames are montage together and produce an impression of a
narration, where the author ponders and analyzes both the past of the
country and the destiny of this unbearably beautiful city, and also
tries to discover the mystery of genius. His intonation is not nostalgic,
but dramatic and lyrical.
Lemkhin's book is a visual poem in its own right; these pictures
aren't organized chronologically or logically but are a pyre unrolling
of association, a pure seeing. This 'seeing' is not so much an accounting,
a biography, of a life's events, but a biography of memory - a biography
of absence - of the great city of Leningrad in Brodsky's - and Lemkhin's
- poetic and daily lives.
Mikhail Lemkhin's book is a book in the fullest sense: not an album
of exquisite photo studies, but a composition which transcribes a train