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Brodsky Museum Opens in Far North Exile Spot

Joseph Brodsky

A museum dedicated to Nobel Prize-winning poet Joseph Brodsky opened in the village of Norenskaya in the far north of Russia on Wednesday, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The museum in the Arkhangelsk region is located in a cottage on the spot where Brodsky lived while serving a sentence of five years' hard labor in the mid-1960s after he was sentenced for social parasitism.

Brodsky's poetry was denounced as "pornographic and anti-Soviet" in 1963 and he was sentenced in a famous trial that made him a cause celebre in the West.

After being found guilty, Brodsky spent 18 months in Norenskaya between March 1964 and September 1965. He wrote 80 poems during his time there. His sentence was commuted in 1965 and he left Norenskaya.

Two years ago the local governor Igor Orlov vowed to have the house fixed up, said the region's press service, RIA Novosti reported. The work cost 4.5 million rubles ($84,000) and was funded by two businessman and not the local government.

The cottage was in such disrepair that it was knocked down and replaced with a similar cottage found nearby.

The museum will make Norenskaya a place of pilgrimage for Brodsky lovers from different countries, schoolchildren and university students, said the press service.

Brodsky left the Soviet Union in 1972 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 for his "clarity of thought and poetic intensity." He settled in the United States and died in 1996, aged 55.

Brodsky's flat in his hometown of St. Petersburg, then Leningrad, is set to become a museum later this year. 

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