Bob Dylan on folk (Chronicles)

Folk music was a reality of a more brilliant dimension. It exceeded all human understanding, and it called out to you, you could disappear and be sucked into it. I felt right at home in this mythical realm made up not with individuals so much as archetypes, vividly drawn archetypes of humanity, metaphysical in shape, each rugged soul filled with natural knowing and inner wisdom.[…] It was so real, so more true to life than life itself. It was life magnified. Folk music was all I needed to exist.

–Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One, page 236.

Dorothea Lasky on poetry and education

I’ve always deeply blamed our education system, because I do think there’s elitism at play that wants to make not only poetry, but all the arts very specialised past a certain point of development. Certainly in high school only the ‘smart’ children […] are privy to learning how to ‘unpack’ a poem, how to really tackle poem and conquer it, because their intellect is made to seem so specialised. We don’t, especially in the US, want to look at poetry as something every student is capable of, because that would be dangerous to those who control the school systems. All students, regardless of their backgrounds, would realise that they are capable of speaking very well; that there are not certain individuals who control what constitutes good language. They would realise that language is not just this agreed upon set of constructed ideas, that it’s not an MLA citation or a five-paragraph essay, that everyone can create new and beautiful language. So it is very frustrating to me when people say, ‘I don’t like poetry,’ or, ‘I don’t understand it,’ because all of that seems the fault of a system that doesn’t want to give poetry its power, and that doesn’t want to give people their power either.

— Dorothea Lasky, in an interview with Rebecca Tamás at Prac Crit.

Tony Kushner on the incomplete, imperfect illusion of theatre (Paris Review)

In a film like Avatar the illusion is almost inescapable, almost all encompassing, and it’s certain that, as we proceed into the future, cinematic illusion is becoming even more so. The flat projection screen is already a kind of archaic convention. It’s just an imitation of the proscenium arch, really. In the future we’re going to take drugs and the screen will be all around us and we’ll have sensory experiences with it and I’m sure it’ll be great, but people will still be going to the theater to watch Hamlet and Laertes fight. The great thing about having somebody die at the end of a sword fight is that it takes a lot of physical energy to do a sword fight. So they’re dead, but their ribcages are heaving up and down. The incomplete, imperfect illusion will never be unnecessary for human beings, and its home will always be in the theater, where everything, including death, is simultaneously thoroughly and yet not entirely convincing.

Tony Kushner interview, Paris Review, Summer 2012