Joseph Brodsky

“[t]he poet has one more duty that explains his devotion to form: his debt to his predecessors, to those who created the poetic language he has inherited.”

“A poet’s attitude toward his predecessors is more than a question of genealogy. We do not choose our parents: it is they who choose us by giving us life.… Whatever we may think of ourselves, we are they, and they must be able to understand us if we want to understand ourselves. The more they leave to us, the richer is our language, the freer we are in the choice of means, the finer is our ear—our method of cognition—and the more nearly perfect is the world we create by ear.” 

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