Joseph Brodsky: Those Who Influence Us, Regardless of Era, are Contemporaries

The fact of the matter is that the view of the world you discover in these poets' work has become a part of our perception. If you like, our perception is a logical (or perhaps alogical) extension of what is set out in their verse. It is the development of principles, notions, and ideas whose expression was the work of these authors. Once we recognize them, nothing more important ever happened in our lives, right? I, for example, have never encountered anything more important. My own thinking included. These people simply created us. That's it. That is what makes them our contemporaries. Nothing else did so much to form us -me at any rate- as Frost, Tsvetaeva, Cavafy, Rilke, Akhmatova, and Pasternak.

Conversations with Joseph Brodksy, Solomon Volkov