Three Early Books of Poems by Louis Daniel Brodsky, 1967–1969

The Easy Philosopher, "A Hard Coming of It" and Other Poems, and The Foul Rag-and-Bone Shop

edited by Sheri L. Vandermolen


Jan's Song

Who can ever know
From words about ideas
That verbs of finest style
Are formed of feelings

Who can say for certain
That words blurted out
Don't consist of whisperings
That lie too often

Who can judge the self
By what it says to
When only minute trickles
Come back in words
Of silent love?

Use the player below to listen to Louis Daniel Brodsky read this poem.



Louis Daniel Brodsky compiled his first poetry book, Five Facets of Myself, in January 1967 and his second, The Foul Rag-and-Bone Shop, in April of that year. He returned to Five Facets in June, sorting its fifty poems into two new manuscripts, The Easy Philosopher and "A Hard Coming of It" and Other Poems, and adding several new pieces to each text as well.

During his graduate years in San Francisco, Brodsky set those books aside, to focus on his prose writing. But by 1969, having settled into a home in Farmington, Missouri, he once again concentrated on his poetry, resuming revision of The Foul Rag-and-Bone Shop. Eager to gather his best new verse, he supplemented the manuscript with twelve new poems, before calling the work complete.

Comprising The Easy Philosopher, "A Hard Coming of It" and Other Poems, and the expanded version of The Foul Rag-and-Bone Shop, this volume is essential "early Brodsky."


These books represent Brodsky's finest early work. Brodsky's reflections . . . evoke a timelessness making the poems as relevant today as they were decades ago. This 3-in-1 anthology is highly recommended reading for all poetry enthusiasts, and a "must" for all Brodsky collectors!
Wisconsin Bookwatch

I read Three Early Books of Poems by Louis Daniel Brodsky with great pleasure. Reading these poems is watching him discover most of the themes that he'll explore in his later poems....They clearly show the mature poet to come. . . . Brodsky . . . is a poet you read with all the pleasure of feeling your brains go up onto the tips of their toes, dancing. You know there's high intelligence here. You feel the wit. . . . Most of these poems are firmly rooted in the turbulent sixties, and he spoke to my memories of those struggling times. Even in his early poems, he shows an encompassing understanding of our human situation.
— Charles Muñoz, former poetry editor of The Jewish Spectator