Joseph Brodsky

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

Iosip Aleksandrovich Brodsky, (Russian:Ио́сиф Алекса́ндрович Бро́дский, better known as Joseph Brodsky) (24 May 194028 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)

  • 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.

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