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Creative Quotations from . . .
Joseph Brodsky
(1940-1996) born on
May 24
Russian-US poet. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987 for his important lyric and elegiac poems; first foreign-born US poet laureate, 1991.
         
   
F
There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

R
Every individual ought to know at least one poet from cover to cover: if not as a guide through the world, then as a yardstick for the language.
A
A language . . . is a more ancient and inevitable thing than any state.
N
A poet is a combination of an instrument and a human being in one person, with the former gradually taking over the latter. The sensation of this takeover is responsible for timbre; the realization of it, for destiny.
K
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.
 
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Published Sources for the above Quotations:
F: At press conference, Washington, D.C., on acceptance of U.S. poet laureateship. Quoted in: Independent on Sunday (London, 19 May 1991).
R: Less Than One: Selected Essays, "To Please a Shadow," sct. 5 (1986; first published 1983). Brodsky recommended W. H. Auden as qualified on both counts.
A: In NY "Times," 1 Oct 72
N: Less Than One: Selected Essays, "A Poet and Prose," sct. 2 (1986; first published 1979).
K: Less Than One: Selected Essays, "To Please a Shadow," sct. 2 (1986; first published 1983).
   


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