Brodsky Mural/Guggenheim Fellowship For Mississippi Poet – Poetry News Roundup May 27th

Today we have articles about the graffiti mural in honour of Joseph Brodsky and the Mississippi poet awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Graffiti Mural for Joseph Brodsky

To honour the day that would have marked the 80th birthday Joseph Brodsky of the celebrated Russian poet a mural appeared in St Petersburg. The mural which was depicted in graffiti style was painted onto the sidewall of a school located in Pestelya Street. The location was in itself significant as it is just across the street from the house where, from 1955 to 1972, Brodsky lived. The apartment where Brodsky lived is now a memorial museum.

The image that was used for the mural was created using a photograph of Brodsky, which was taken in 1989 by Graziano Arici the Italian photographer. In a post on their official Instagram account, the Brodsky Museum said that they felt it was a very good place for the mural to appear.

Unfortunately, the mural was only visible for a single day before it was completely covered in white plaster by the caretaker of the school. Speaking to the Fontanka newspaper the caretaker mentioned that the mural had been removed from the wall in accordance with the State Administrative and Technical Inspectorate requirements which state that drawing on the boundaries of any state institution is prohibited. There was, however, no instruction given by the Central District administration for the city. A further interview was given to the “Podyom” news site, which confirmed that the school had simply been following the law. They also said that should the artist have contacted them before creating the mural there would have been no issue.

Fans of the poet made some attempts to restore the graffiti following its destruction. The museum staff said that on 25th May some passers-by made attempts to remove some of the plaster that had been used to cover the mural. However, their attempts were in vain and the sections that they had uncovered were once again covered up by the caretaker. This time that plaster was much thicker and removal was not possible.

The artist who created the mural was Oleg Lukyanov, a street artist. Whilst he was not surprised that the mural had been covered over he is hoping that it might be possible to open up a dialogue with the powers that be with a view to restoring it at some point in the future; even on a temporary basis. The bill to make works of graffiti legal, provided that they have received prior approval was passed in St Petersburg in February 2019.

Guggenheim Fellowship Awarded to Mississippi Poet

Aimee Nexhukumatathil, a professor at the University of Mississippi has been named as a Guggenheim Fellow.

The poet, who has already published four collections of poetry is hoping to use her fellowship to create another collection of poems. This collection will be inspired by folklore and natural history and will look at the problems of raising a family that is half Asian and half American in the American South.

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