Soviet citizen Joseph Brodsky, shown here in 1964 at age 23, was arrested shortly after this photo was taken and sentenced to 5 years on a prison farm for:
1. “having a worldview damaging to the state,”
2. “decadence and modernism,”
3. “failure to finish school, and”
4. “social parasitism … except for the writing of awful poems.”
The following is an excerpt from the transcript of his trial:
Judge: And what is your profession, in general?
Brodsky: I am a poet and a literary translator.
Judge: Who recognizes you as a poet? Who enrolled you in the ranks of poets?
Brodsky: No one. Who enrolled me in the ranks of humankind?
Judge: Did you study this?
Judge: How to become a poet. You did not even try to finish high school where they prepare, where they teach?
Brodsky: I didn’t think you could get this from school.
Judge: How then?
Brodsky: I think that it … comes from God, yes God.