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This report is taken from PN Review 244, Volume 45 Number 2, November - December 2018.

from the Journals

Sane Artists
R.F. Langley
From the Journals 8 March 2005

Bob Walker sends me an email quoting Adam Phillips talking to Melvyn Bragg on the South Bank Show, about sane artists:

‘I think one of the things we might look to poetry for now, because poetry is marginalised, which is the best thing about it... it’s freeing people, actually, to be able to work in their own way. People are going to be poets now only if they really want to be, because there is no money in it and there’s very little glamour. That seems to be promising: because, it seems to me, the only pay off now to being a good poet is writing a good poem, and that seems to me to hold with it the possibility that people will be freer with their thoughts. They’ll be less preoccupied by being winning, or by being charming. Or indeed by selling anything, because they’ve got nothing to sell.

I think that the new thing that might be happening is that the new sane artist will not be seeking recognition. That whereas the main stream of artists are all going to be seeking recognition and fame and fortune, the new sane artist will need to dispense with precisely that quest in order to do their work.

It frees you, once you relinquish the market… once you relinquish, one way or another, the saleability of your art now, then you’re free, I think, freer to have your own thoughts; because ...


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