Joseph Brodsky Quotes

Posted by Brian

Joseph Brodsky was born in 24th May 1940, in a Jewish family in Leningrad, Soviet Union. His father was a professional photographer in Soviet navy. Joseph Brodsky was a Russian poet. He has won the Noble Prize in Literature in 1987. At the age of fifteen, Joseph Brodsky left his school and tried to join the School of Submariners, but he was not successful. Then he joined a milling plant as a machine operator. In 1957 he began to write his poetry. In 1972 he was expelled form USSR and then he became a US citizen and joined University of Michigan as a teacher. He was a Five-College Professor of Literature at Mount Holyoke College. At a question: “You are an American citizen who is receiving the Prize for Russian-language poetry. Who are you, an American or a Russian?” he replied: “I am Jewish – a Russian poet and an English essayist”.

Joseph Brodsky Quotes, Sayings and Quotations

After all, it is hard to master both life and work equally well. So if you are bound to fake one of them, it had better be life.
– Joseph Brodsky

Bad literature is a form of treason.”- Joseph Brodsky

Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family.
– Joseph Brodsky

Every writing career starts as a personal quest for sainthood, for self-betterment. Sooner or later, and as a rule quite soon, a man discovers that his pen accomplishes a lot more than his soul.
– Joseph Brodsky

For a writer only one form of patriotism exists: his attitude toward language.
– Joseph Brodsky

How delightful to find a friend in everyone.
– Joseph Brodsky

I do not believe in political movements. I believe in personal movement, that movement of the soul when a man who looks at himself is so ashamed that he tries to make some sort of change – within himself, not on the outside.
– Joseph Brodsky

If a poet has any obligation toward society, it is to write well. Being in the minority, he has no other choice. Failing this duty, he sinks into oblivion. Society, on the other hand, has no obligation toward the poet. A majority by definition, society thinks of itself as having other options than reading verses, no matter how well written. Its failure to do so results in its sinking to that level of locution at which society falls easy prey to a demagogue or a tyrant. This is society’s own equivalent of oblivion.
– Joseph Brodsky

It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything.
– Joseph Brodsky

It is the army that finally makes a citizen of you; without it you still have a chance, however slim, to remain a human being.
– Joseph Brodsky

Life – the way it really is – is a battle not between Bad and Good but between Bad and Worse.
– Joseph Brodsky

Life is a game with many rules but no referee. One learns how to play it more by watching it than by consulting any book, including the holy book. Small wonder, then, that so many play dirty, that so few win, that so many lose.
– Joseph Brodsky

Man is what he reads.
– Joseph Brodsky

No matter under what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be home. No matter how you lived there-well or poorly.
– Joseph Brodsky

Poetry is rather an approach to things, to life, than it is typographical production.
– Joseph Brodsky

Robert Frost’s triumph was not being at John Kennedy’s inauguration ceremony, but the day when he put the last period on “West-Running Brook.”
– Joseph Brodsky

The formula for prison is a lack of space counterbalanced by a surplus of time.
– Joseph Brodsky

The poetic notion of infinity is far greater than that which is sponsored by any creed.
– Joseph Brodsky

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
– Joseph Brodsky

This is the generation whose first cry of life was the Hungarian uprising.
– Joseph Brodsky

Twentieth-century Russian literature has produced nothing special except perhaps one novel and two stories by Andrei Platonov, who ended his days sweeping streets.
– Joseph Brodsky

What I like about cities is that everything is king size, the beauty and the ugliness.
– Joseph Brodsky

Were we to choose our leaders on the basis of their reading experience and not their political programs, there would be much less grief on earth. I believe—not empirically, alas, but only theoretically–that for someone who has read a lot of Dickens to shoot his like in the name of an idea is harder than for someone who has read no Dickens.
– Joseph Brodsky

Who included me among the ranks of the human race?
– Joseph Brodsky


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