Joseph Brodsky, Less Than One: A Nobelaureate's strong opinions bookended by the life experiences entitling them. Led me not only to pry Akhmatova and Auden off the shelf, but will have me revisit Platonov (who he says is to Nabokov as a Chomolungma climber is to a tightrope walker; Brodsky shares something of Nabokov's aesthetic but reverses the Dostoevsky/Tolstoy divide) and added Montale to it. His concept of language overdetermining meanings possible in poetry (as the highest form thereof) certainly does not translate to societal relations; words are not people, but, to him, language is nation (but 'strong' rhymes not just with 'song' but with 'wrong'). And the problem of poetry vs verse, art as opposed to craft -- a chronic debate on NABOKV-L visavis Shade's "Pale Fire"; among what's to be read next year I have Nabokov's Eugene Onegin, the only writing of his in English (including translations) that I haven't been through at least once -- Brodsky took perhaps a stronger view, and maintained it to the last. Yet ... Brodsky:Auden::Tsvetaeva::Rilke? Quite a bit to chew on, though the reins stay taut.
William Morris, The Wood Beyond the World: Speaking of arts and crafts, Morris effaced the difference. Read in the Dover facsimile of the Kelmscott Press edition (typography does matter), it's a bridge between medieval romance and modern fantasy. Deftly plotted (and dramatically ambiguated). Yet another facet of Morris' abilities and interests, not so easy to resolve with one another (Carlyle? WTF?!), and a pivot upon which much turned, socially and culturally.
I'm currently reading Gass' The Tunnel (a small prick of conscience?) and 'twill be awhile before I emerge at t'other end ... so, Hoopy New Year! (It's 07. Double 07.)