Five years after the death of Joseph Brodsky, the heir of the generation of Pasternak, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva and especially Akhmatova, this “Collected Poems in English” for the first time gathers all his translated and original poems in English. It confirms his unique place in our literature. His abiding addiction to the English language, and particularly to the Metaphysical poets, was manifest in the industry with which he read and translated in both directions. His own efforts to translate his work, and the poems he wrote directly in English, are ambitious: the poetic “conceit” is for him functional, as it was in the 17th century, a tool for prising open difficult truths, making vertiginous connections. Susan Sontag speaks of the poems’ “extraordinary velocity and density of material notation, of cultural reference, of attitude. He insisted that poetry’s ‘job’ (a much used word) was to explore the capacity of language to travel farther, faster. Poetry, he said, is accelerated thinking”.