Iosip Aleksandrovich Brodsky (Russian: Ио́сиф Алекса́ндрович Бро́дский, usually anglicized as Joseph Brodsky) (24 May 1940 – 28 January 1996) was a Russian-American poet, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Poet Laureate of the United States for 1991–1992.
Less Than One: Selected Essays (1986)
- The formula for prison is a lack of space counterbalanced by a surplus of time. This is what really bothers you, that you can't win. Prison is lack of alternatives, and the telescopic predictability of the future is what drives you crazy.
- "Less Than One"
- The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn't be happy with.
- "A Commencement Address" (1984), delivered at Williams College
- There was Lenin, looking like a cherub in his blonde curls. Then Lenin in his twenties and thirties, bald and uptight.
- This is just one example of the trimming of the self that — along with the language itself, where verbs and nouns changed places as freely as one dare to have them do so — bred in us such an overpowering sense of ambivalence that in ten years we ended up with a willpower in no way superior to a seaweed’s.
- There isn’t an executioner who isn’t scared of turning victim one day, nor is there the sorriest victim who would not acknowledge (if only to himself) a mental ability to become an executioner.
- For darkness restores what light cannot repair.
- The fact that we are living does not mean we are not sick.
- There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
- Unbelief is blindness, but more often piggishness.