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!Download E-pub Ï On Grief and Reason: Essays õ On Grief and Reason is the second volume of Joseph Brodsky s essays, and the first to be published since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature inIn addition to his Nobel lecture, the volume includes essays on the condition of exile, the nature of history, the art of reading, and the idea of the poet as an inveterate Don Giovanni, as well as a homage to Marcus Aurelius and an appraisal of the case of the double agent Kim Philby the last two were selected for inclusion in the annual Best American Essays volume The title essay is a consideration of the poetry of Robert Frost, and the book also includes a fond appreciation of Thomas Hardy, a Letter to Horace , a close reading of Rilke s poem Orpheus Eurydice Hermes , and a memoir of Stephen Spender Among the other essays are Mr Brodsky s open letter to Czech President Vaclav Havel and his immodest proposal for the future of poetry, an address he delivered while serving as US Poet Laureate Autism and the God Connection: Redefining the Autistic Experience Through Extraordinary Accounts of Spiritual Giftedness and the first to be published since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature inIn addition to his Nobel lecture La Mina Lisa the volume includes essays on the condition of exile Stepbrother Bastard (Hawthorne Brothers the nature of history The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud - and Those Who are Too Fearful to Do So the art of reading Ravishing Ruby and the idea of the poet as an inveterate Don Giovanni Wipe Away the Tears as well as a homage to Marcus Aurelius and an appraisal of the case of the double agent Kim Philby the last two were selected for inclusion in the annual Best American Essays volume The title essay is a consideration of the poetry of Robert Frost Fire With Fire and the book also includes a fond appreciation of Thomas Hardy One Thousand and One Arabian Nights a Letter to Horace Viaţa şi moartea nefericitului Filimon a close reading of Rilke s poem Orpheus Eurydice Hermes The Greek Way and a memoir of Stephen Spender Among the other essays are Mr Brodsky s open letter to Czech President Vaclav Havel and his immodest proposal for the future of poetry Catwalk and Overpass an address he delivered while serving as US Poet Laureate Russian fatalism is inspiring It helps one to hover over the tragedies, absurdities and stupidities of life from the safe distance of self detachment The actual distance to these three might feel too far or might feel too near It can either be something that happened thousands of years or miles away from you or it could be something that is happening right here right now in your family That s why the word safe is the key in that sentence it means you re detached enough to be able to reas Russian fatalism is inspiring It helps one to hover over the tragedies, absurdities and stupidities of life from the safe distance of self detachment The actual distance to these three might feel too far or might feel too near It can either be something that happened thousands of years or miles away from you or it could be something that is happening right here right now in your family That s why the word safe is the key in that sentence it means you re detached enough to be able to reason, but in a distance safe enough not to become indifferent and to stop caring.That s Brodsky s style of looking at the world Reading Brodsky doesn t feel like reading at all it feels like a conversation with an incredibly cultured and cultivated man about everything important in your and his life I spent most of the time with him during my lunchtime And it was a pleasure to sit next to the fountains outside my office, for an hour every working day, and hear the water and Brodsky s thoughts flow through me He told me about the true meaning of freedom, of individual sovereignty, of beauty of poetry, and of grief and reason.He told me about his youth in Leningrad, when he and his friends dreamt deeply and daily about the Western freedom They dreamt about it so intensely that maybe, the freedom that we achieved in our small circle in Leningrad, was bigger and better than the freedom offered in the West itself , Brodsky says This made me wonder, can a person who never lived or never encountered Russia, fully understand what Brodsky means by this What s also incomprehensible about Brodsky is how a Russian poet managed to become a master of the English prose In times, when even access to Russian English dictionaries was scarce in USSR Brodsky, a non native English speaker, tamed the English language to the level that was accepted and worshipped by the leading authors of the time by W.H.Auden, C.P Snow, Spendler and others Can this be explained by his insatiable love for language Undoubtedly He spends pages dissecting and explaining why a poet Robert Frost used this word and not the other in his poems Every word matters to a poet, because every word has a precise feeling For a writer only one form of patriotism exists his attitude toward language What is a poet other than a lover of language s intricacies While sitting and sipping my coffee next to the fountains during the lunch break, Brodsky taught me how to love language and since we both share Russian as our native tongue and both taught ourselves English through Shakespeare and Milton this conversation became very intimate He was exiled from Russia and I, though not exiled but living far from home, felt a close connection to his often bitter feelings about our homeland For both of us, Russian language acts as a shield against the melancholic nostalgia about homeland we left It s what keeps us connected not to the physical place or its politics, but to what it truly embodies a powerful, exceptional, undefeatable culture From Pushkin and Tchaikovsky to Mandelshtam and Shostakovich There is a lot of digression in this review as there is a lost of digressions in Brodsky s prose But they always connect or reveal something deep and subconscious I can t think of an English poet or an author who mastered Russian to the level Brodsky mastered English And, if English is your native tongue you must read Brodsky to realise that the bridges between civilisations are not built by bricks, but are built by words Brodsky 5 ,. 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 d 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 a 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