Fantastic article reviewing Lev Loseff’s Joseph Brodsky: A Literary Life and giving a great overview of Brodsky’s strange and fierce existence. I didn’t really know much about his trial and subsequent exile after being found “a parasite, a lout, a crook, an ideologically corrupt human being”—this excerpt from the court transcript is priceless:
Judge: What is your profession?
Brodsky: Poet. Poet and translator.
Judge: Who said you were a poet? Who assigned you that rank?
Brodsky: No one. (Nonconfrontational.) Who assigned me to the human race?
I also love this excerpt from Brodsky’s “Elegy to John Donne”:
And you saw life: your island was its twin.
And you did face the ocean at its shores.
The howling dark stood close at every hand.
And you did soar past God, and then drop back …
I wish I knew Russian.
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