Poetic cartography

Vilnius of Joseph Brodski

The map shows locations in Vilnius that Brodsky visited according to his friends’ memories and his own poetry, i.e. the poem cycles “Lithuanian Divertissement” and “Lithuanian Nocturne”, which were dedicated to Tomas Venclova. Biographical and poetic data related to Brodsky’s visits to Lithuania were collected and published in the Russian language by Yakov Klots in his illustrated book “Joseph Brodsky in Lithuania” (2010). The book also includes a Vilnius map with all “Brodsky’s places” marked. With the author’s permission we used this information while preparing this interactive map.

Joseph Brodsky’s first visited Lithuania in the end of August 1966. He received an invitation from Andrey Sergeev, his friend from Moscow, who quite often spent his holidays in Lithuania. After landing at Vilnius airport, Brodsky stayed at Romas Katilius place on Liejyklos street. During his first visit, Brodsky spent less than a week in Vilnius and then went to Palanga. However, with the help of his local friends (among whom was Tomas Venclova) less than a week was enough to get acquainted with the Old Town, as well as to visit Sudervė and Trakai. Later Brodsky continued to visit Lithuania and Vilnius up until his final emigration to the West (the dates of his visits in Lithuania are given in the chapter “Author Biography”).

As Rimvydas Šilbajoris claims, Brodsky’s poetry “does not portray Lithuania in a direct or realistical way. Brodsky’s and Venclova’s universe is excessively poetic, existing only in their thoughts and in their friendship, but built on the details borrowed from his experiences in Lithuania”.