Saturday, March 16, 2002

Suzanne Lummis

One of my favorite quotes comes from a fellow named T.S. Eliot, who once said about writers, "Hacks imitate, artists steal" which, while acknowledging the fact that all new work is connected with what has come before, doesn't define the distinction between artistic plagiarism and artistic recycling.

Obviously, the first is only about a superficial re-rendering of established work, but the second is really about the wholesale theft, absorption and creation of new work from old. West Side Story from Romeo and Juliet.

Nearly every film and pulp Western, Shane, The Magnificent Seven and True Grit, all from the Sixth Century Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf.

Tonight we have with us a poet who is not only a fan of T.S. Eliot, but also of Raymond Chandler and fairy tales and the misty, dark, cruel-streets-of-the-city genre known as noir.

Not only Director of the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, actress, playwright, performance artist and founder of the high-spirited, text-driven troupe Nearly Fatal Women, but also a thief in the highest artistic sense, her work and words crisp and not only teeming with irony and humor, wisdom and spirit, but pure magic... mercy... I want to have her baby. (Issue #16) (Spring 2001)

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