In the Ranks of Poets

Judge: And what is your profession, in general?
Brodsky:
I am a poet and a literary translator.
Judge:
Who recognizes you as a poet? Who enrolled you in the ranks of poets?
Brodsky:
No one. Who enrolled me in the ranks of humankind?
Judge:
Did you study this?
Brodsky:
This?
Judge:
How to become a poet. You did not even try to finish high school where they prepare, where they teach?
Brodsky:
I didn’t think you could get this from school.
Judge:
How then?
Brodsky:
I think that it … comes from God

An exchange between a judge and Joseph Brodsky as recorded in a court transcript in 1964. Brodsky was on trial in the Soviet Union for writing what was considered apolitical poetry.

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