Q: Some critics have referred to the extreme uses of drugs and alcohol among artists a form of “inverted asceticism.” Is there anything to this?
Well, like I said before, drug use among artists is the catastrophic and incredibly obvious mistake of looking for the right thing, illumination, in the wrong place—as if the chemical contained what was necessary, when all along it is within us, obviously. The problem is it takes a lifetime of discipline to access that state of illumination—it must be sought, found, then constantly maintained—and with drugs at first you get the impression that it’s something you can turn on and off with a switch. But it is understandable—the world is so awful, and artistic aspirations go so against the grain of things as they are, it is natural to despair, in the midst of so much ugliness and chaos, of finding any other way to enter that other state, that other place of illumination. And the other horrible problem is that it sometimes really works, initially—if it didn’t work, to some degree, it wouldn’t be such a problem.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Franz Wright Interview
There's this great new interview with Franz Wright at the Contemporary Poetry Review website. Here's an excerpt: