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I'm not comfortable making statements. I guess that is a big reason I'm a poet.

I say I'm a poet but as soon as the statement is out of my mouth I have lied. I am a human being.

The strongest influence on my work, among many (Allen Ginsberg, Gertrude Stein, Jean-Paul Sartre, etc.), is Samuel Beckett. I first read Beckett in high school in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The quotation below is from the introductory comments to Beckett's Three Dialogues with Georges Duthuit appearing in A Samuel Beckett Reader, edited by John Calder. Three Dialogues was originally published in Transition, in 1949.

In the first dialogue, discussing Tal Coat, Duthuit praises the painter for being "committed neither to truth nor beauty, twin tyrannies of nature", but is countered by Beckett for not being revolutionary enough. Beckett complains that the old masters of Italian painting "never stirred from the field of the possible, however much they may have enlarged it". Well-painted painting is not enough: art must do more than "disturb the plane of the feasible". He agrees there could be logically no other plane for the creative artist, but continues:
Beckett - Yet I speak of an art turning from it in disgust, weary of puny exploits, weary of pretending to be able, of being able, of doing a little better the same old thing, of going a little further along a dreary road.

Duthuit - And preferring what?

B. - The expression that there is nothing to express, nothing with which to express, nothing to express, no power to express, no desire to express, together with the obligation to express.

Duthuit points out that "that is a violently extreme and personal point of view" and of little relevance to the argument in question. Beckett makes no reply, ending the dialogue. He allows himself to be bested by the Frenchman in each of the three discussions, but makes his points forcefully none the less.

Source: A Samuel Beckett Reader, John Calder, ed. London: Picador, 1983, p. 204-5.

I bought A Samuel Beckett Reader on February 4, 1984 in Okinawa, Japan.

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