By Valentina Polukhina (auth.)
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Extra resources for Brodsky through the Eyes of his Contemporaries
Did you experience, not so much an influence, but was there some sort of stimulus, a shove even? First, it's some time since poetry was my main occupation in life. It's a pity perhaps, but it's not my main occupation. That's how it is. Secondly, at the time we got to know one another, were seeing a lot of each other, when he was already making his mark as a formidable poetic talent, in the early 1960s, I was stuck fast in the grip of another great poet's influence, that of Pasternak. Anyway, nowadays we look at things from a slightly different angle.
He wrote it, and I'm talking about the poem as a whole. I repeat, I find those lines hurtful but I'm not the sort of man to be made blind by my hurt to the merits of the poem as a whole. Did Brodsky's departure from the Soviet Union affect you in any way? No. As I've already mentioned earlier, we'd been at odds with one another for years before that. And when you get down to it, it's no great shakes when two people have fallen out and one of them is living in Moscow, the other in Leningrad, and then one of them goes and moves to New York.
Of course, I have taken an extreme, but it is, 44 Yakov Gordin unfortunately, impossible to reject the logical consistency of an argument which is headed towards that extreme. Form has no influence on function, but may distort it, in any case give rise to a false conception. Utilitarianism and standardisation are, we repeat, as harmful as over-ornamentation. The Manege stripped of its columns would become a shed. A colonnade is functional: in architecture it plays a role analogous to that of phonetics in language.