On literary imitations of two imperative poems by Joseph Brodsky

Cite item


This article concentrates on the problem of literary interactions. It studies connections between Joseph Brodsky’s imperative poems “Ne vykhodi iz komnaty” (“Don’t leave your room”, 1970) and “Nazidanie” (“Cautionary Advice”, 1987), and their imitations. Those imitations were composed by both amateur and professional authors. The research objective is to define the character of similarities, the latter being mainly manifested at the rhythmic, speech and ideological levels. The methodology is based upon an empirical approach to the text; the specific methods are prosody analysis, comparative analysis, analysis of the motive structure. Two types of imitation of the said pre-texts are distinguished in the study. The first one is reflective feeble imitation represented by amateur texts written by web authors. Amateur poets create simplified variations of “Ne vykhodi iz komnaty” that became a “lockdown hymn” in the spring of 2020. Conscious support of a renowned poet’s work seems to legitimate creation of an amateur piece with its further placement on the web. The other type of imitation is a poetic dialogue. In spite of the fact that the author mainly employs “ready-made” compositional and speech patterns and lyrical and narrative motives, he develops and combines them in his own manner. M. Vatutina’s poem “S chuzhimi ne razgovarivai, zhizn’ u tebya odna…” (“Don’t talk to strangers, you’ve got just the only one life…”) may be viewed as a rhythmic and semantic paraphrase of Brodsky’s “Nazidanie” followed by definite transformations. Conceivably it cannot be referred to the so-called secondary texts in spite of its strong connection to Brodsky’s poems.

About the authors

Alexander G. Stepanov

Tver State University, Tver, Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: poetics@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5342-3945

Cand. Sci. (Philology), Associate Professor, Department of History and Theory of Literature

Russian Federation, 33, Zhelyabova Street, Tver, 170100, Russian Federation


  1. Brodskii, I. (2000–2001), Works of Joseph Brodsky, 7 vols., Ia. A. Gordin (ed.), Pushkinskii fond, St. Petersburg, Russia.
  2. Vatutina, M. (2016), World’s fragment, Novyi mir, no. 8, pp. 67–72.
  3. Danilov, Dali Il’ya. (2020), Themed on Brodsky’s poem “Don’t Leave Your Room”, [Online], available at: https://stihi.ru/2020/04/12/11940 (accessed 13 January 2021).
  4. Ploskonosova, Vera. (2020), With Brodsky’s lyrics “Don’t Leave Your Room”, [Online], available at: https://stihi.ru/2020/04/28/6021 (accessed 15 Jan. 2021).
  5. Selivanov, 2 Oleg. (2020), “Don’t Leave Your Apartment”, [Online], available at: https://stihi.ru/2020/08/11/1986 (accessed 19 January 2021).
  6. Dushechkina, E.V. (1998), Availability predicative in Tyutchev’s poetry and poetics of be-ginning, Proceedings of the 2nd сonference “Literary Text: Problems and Research Methods”, 17–22 Sept. 1998, Tver State University, Tver, pp. 56–59.
  7. Leiderman, N. and Lipovetskii, M. (1993), Afterlife, or New info on realism, Novyi mir, no. 7, pp. 233–252.
  8. Losev, L.V. (2006), Joseph Brodsky: an attempt on a literary biography, Molodaya gvardiya, Moscow, Russia.
  9. Losev, L.V. (2011), Notes, Brodskii, I. Short and Longer Poems, 2 vols., Vita Nova: Izdatel’stvo Pushkinskogo Doma, St. Petersburg, Russia, vol. 2.
  10. Lyapin, S.E. (2011), “Segmented” accentual verse: towards a description of Joseph Brod-sky’s metrical innovations, Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta, Ser. 9, Filologiya, no. 6, pp. 36–46.
  11. “Don’t Leave Your Room”: what is it actually about, [discussants: E. Beznosov, A. Dolinin, T. Krasil’nikova, S. Kuznetsov, R. Leibov, O. Lekmanov, V. Rogov, E. Fanailova], 25 May 2020, [Online], available at: https://polka.academy/materials/700 (accessed 9 January 2021).
  12. Nesterova, N.M. and Popova, Yu. K. (2017), On the problem of differentiating between primary and secondary texts, Vestnik Permskogo Natsional’nogo Issledovatel’skogo Politekhnicheskogo Universiteta. Problemy yazykoznaniya i pedagogiki, no. 4, pp. 52–61.
  13. Prokhorova, E.V. (1999), “Letters by a Russian traveller”: geography in Joseph Brodsky’s texts, Philosophical Age, almanac, vol. 10, Philosophy as a fate, A Russian philosopher as a sociocultural type, St. Petersburg, Russia, pp. 178–191.
  14. Semenov, V. (2010), Hemistichs in J. Brodsky’s late non-classical verse: a quasi-caesura, Studia Slavica, collection of papers by young philologists, Tallinskii universitet, Institut slavyanskikh yazykov i kul’tur, Tallinn, Estonia, vol. 9, Punctus contra punctum, pp. 199–222.
  15. Slinina, E.V. (1991), A thought of the future and imperative speech Pushkin’s lyric poetry, Problems of contemporary Pushkin studies, inter-university collection of papers, dedicated to 70th anniversary of Professor Evgeny Aleksandrovich Maimin, [b. i.], Pskov, pp. 88–100.
  16. Kherl’t, I. (2012), “Waiting for barbarians”: Brodsky and the borders of aesthetics, Joseph Brodsky: problems of poetics, collection of papers and materials, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Moscow, Russia, pp. 18–33.

Copyright (c) 2021 Stepanov A.G.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies