Joseph Brodsky

A person sets out to write a poem for a variety of reasons: to win the heart of his beloved; to express his attitude toward the reality surrounding him, be it a landscape or a state; to capture his state of mind at a given instant; to leave – as he thinks at that moment – a trace on the earth. The black vertical clot of words on the white sheet of paper presumably reminds him of his own situation in the world, of the balance between space and his body. The immediate consequence of this enterprise is the sensation of coming into direct contact with language or, more precisely, the sensation of immediately falling into dependence on it, on everything that has already been uttered, written, and accomplished in it.

 

From this week’s New Yorker:
brodsky_NYorker