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3.5 5 Brilliant, witty, entertaining.Makes great reading for anyone who is a little bit down in the dumps Here s a gem from In Praise of Boredom p.111 , a commencement address in which Brodsky demonstrates how boredom teaches us to understand time and our own utter insignificance what s good about boredom, about anguish and the sense of the meaninglessness of your own, of everything else s existence, is that it is not a deception Try to embrace, or let yourself be embraced by, boredom and anguish, which anyhow are larger than youas the poet said, Believe your pain This awful bear hug is no mistake Nothing that disturbs you is Remember all along that there is no embrace in this world that won t finally unclasp If you find all this gloomy, you don t know what gloom is Classic A substantial part of what lies ahead of you is going to be claimed by boredom Imagine starting a commencement address with this line This is what Brodsky did at Dartmouth, 1989, with his essay In Praise of Boredom, just one of the brilliant pieces included in his collection On Grief and Reason I d gladly attendcommencement ceremonies at our own campus if we got to hear brutally frank but entertaining and existential addresses like Brodsky s In a nutshell, he argues that college does not prepare students for the inescapable fact of a working career Everything that displays a pattern is pregnant with boredom But Brodsky is no wicked scold out to mock parents for having dropped a hundred grand oron an education that apparently will prove existentially irrelevant oh well, it s only money, Mom and Dad or to terrify newborn grads into a life of escapist drink and drugs Rather, he argues, with great panache and insight, that boredom is means to attaining genuine passion by forcing us to recognize our insignificance That inferior in significance, we best it in sensitivity This is what it means to be insignificant If it takes will paralyzing to bring this home, then hail the boredom You are insignificant because you are finite Yet thefinite a thing is, thecharged with life, emotions, joy, compassion This should be required reading for every college grad actually, for anyone wracked by boredom Brodsky must ve anticipated that a somewhat less than traditional address filled with cliches and platitudes might need leavening with a dash of wit here and there, and he delivers with deadpan lines such as All one can suggest is to be a bitapprehensive of money, for the zeros in your accounts may usher in their mental equivalents this line may be too subtle for Last Comic Standing, but that just makes its cut all thesurgical This piece contains all of the trademarks of a typical Brodsky essay erudition worn lightly, wit and wry tone, droll delivery, compassion, and enthusiasm for the endlessly fascinating and infinite foibles of the human condition Though there isn t a dull piece in the collection, I would especially recommend An Immodest Proposal plan for increasing reading of poetry Homage to Marcus Aurelius, and Letter to Horace, which contains the most daring opening to an essay I ve ever read Though Brodsky won the Nobel Prize in 1987, primarily on the basis of his poetry and on his reputation as a Soviet dissident who so rankled the Politburo Boys that they threw him out of the country , I think his essays may well prove to be hisenduring achievement His other collection, Less Than One, is also very strong, but I find On Grief and Reason has a bitrange in topics. The strength of this collection is in the essays on literary analysis Brodsky is a technically astute poet who dissects Hardy, Horace and Frost with thought provoking insight The essay on Spender is really entertaining and autobiographical Most of the essays revolve prominently on poetry, or on his migration experience and acquiring a new Lingua Franca Some essays are inspirational to motivate young writers and poets and so on The essay A Cat s Meow is so awful I had to skip it Brodsky attempts to discuss the creative process but the effect is a robotic analysis of creativity that tangents off all over the place It s a disaster It s the only essay I didn t like and skipped.Brodsky has an interesting way of using English, which makes the reading experience both charming and easy to follow If you like any of the poets mentioned here, or good essays in general, this is a recommended read. Hands down the most enjoyable book I have read,I have had a wry wee grin on my face for the past week because of Brodsky.He turns a cocophany of thoughts into a clear narrative that will had me wondering if I should have Studied literature and philosophy instead of engineering.Thanks for recommending this goodreads I realize that i im a Mongol addressing a algorithm On Grief and Reason is a collection of twenty one essays, all but one written since 1986 Of these, some are without question on a par with the best of his earlier collection, Less Than One In Spoils of War, for instance an essay classical in form, light in touch Brodsky continues the amusing and sometimes poignant story of his youth, using those traces of the West corned beef cans and shortwave radios as well as movies and jazz that found their way through the Iron Curtain to explore the meaning of the West to Russians Given the imaginative intensity with which they pored over these artifacts, Brodsky suggests, Russians of his generation were the real Westerners, perhaps the only ones The breadth of the essays is impressive with some that touched on topics unfamiliar to me while others were closer to home Homage to Marcus Aurelius is a vision of the man that only someone with a poetic imagination could obtain Brodsky sees through the ages into the loneliness and endurance of a good ruler He ends the essay with the most appropriate words, those of Marcus Aurelius himself This collection of essays is valuable for insight and inspiration, and I return to it as I do with any classic anticipating further encouragement on the road to wisdom. Hoy d a se halla muy extendida la opini n de que el escritor deber a utilizar en su obra el lenguaje de la calle, el lenguaje de la masa Pese a su apariencia democr tica y a sus evidentes ventajas para el escritor, tal consigna representa un intento bastante absurdo de subordinar el arte a la historia La literatura deber a hablar el lenguaje de la gente solo en el caso de que queramos que el Homo sapiens detenga su evoluci n De lo contrario, es la gente la que deber a hablar el lenguaje de la literatura. . An idiosyncratic collection of essays and other criticism Brodky s English is witty, complicated, distinctive, and a bit strange Some of his essays wander far away from their established topic, and it is unusual to see him naively lecturing Havel about how poetry is enough to build a nation When he is talking about other writers other poets, like Robert Frost or Rainer Maria Rilke then he is sublime. ^DOWNLOAD ⇟ On Grief and Reason ☔ In This Richly Diverse Collection Of Essays, Joseph Brodsky Casts A Reflective Eye On His Experiences Of Early Life In Russia And Exile In America With Dazzling Erudition, He Explores Subjects As Varied As The Dynamic Of Poetry, The Nature Of History And The Plight Of The Migr Writer There Is Also The Humorous Tale Of A Disastrous Trip To Brazil, Advice To Students, A Homage To Marcus Aurelius And Studies Of Robert Frost, Thomas Hardy, Horace And Others The Second Volume Of Essays Following Less Than One, This Collection Includes Brodsky SNobel Lecture, Uncommon Visage