Beginning a poem, the poet as a rule doesn't know the way it's going to come out, and at times, he is very surprised by the way it turns out, since often it turns out better than he expected; often his thought carries further than he reckoned.
I simply loved all my life; loved is too strong a word, but I had a tremendous sentiment, partly conditioned, of course, by the reality of where I grew up, for the spirit of individualism, for the idea of your being on your own in a big way.
On the whole, infinity is a fairly palpable aspect of this business of publishing, if only because it extends a dead author's existence beyond the limits he envisioned, or provides a living author with a future he cannot measure. In other words, this business deals with the future which we all prefer to regard as unending.
No matter how daring or cautious you may choose to be, in the course of your life, you are bound to come into direct physical contact with what's known as Evil. I mean here not a property of the gothic novel but, to say the least, a palpable social reality that you in no way can control.
I do not believe in political movements. I believe in personal movement, that movement of the soul when a man who looks at himself is so ashamed that he tries to make some sort of change - within himself, not on the outside.
Mandelstam was, one is tempted to say, a modern Orpheus: sent to hell, he never returned, while his widow dodged across one-sixth of the earth's surface, clutching the saucepan with his songs rolled up inside, memorizing them by night in the event they were found by Furies with a search warrant. These are our metamorphoses, our myths.
What concerns me is that man, unable to articulate, to express himself adequately, reverts to action. Since the vocabulary of action is limited, as it were, to his body, he is bound to act violently, extending his vocabulary with a weapon where there should have been an adjective.
When you have those two languages - an analytic one like English and a synthetic, very sensual thing like Russian, you get almost a psychotic sense of humanity that permeates nearly everything. It can help you understand, and it can discourage you, because you see how little can be done.
The concept of historical necessity is the product of rational thought and arrived in Russia by the Western route. The idea of the noble savage, of an inherently good human nature hampered by bad institutions, of the ideal state, of social justice and so forth - none of these originated or blossomed on the banks of the Volga.