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How to Be a Successful Artist: Slash and Burn.

March 8, 2010

Jim Behrle has an a-amazing essay on the Poetry Foundation, titled “24/7 Relentless Careerism.” The whole thing is funny, sarcastic, and I honestly had no idea a poet could be such a snark.

Whether or not you’re interested in being a creative professional, you should read the whole thing; he uses talks about pot and foxes making out and berries all in one paragraph, and somehow it still makes sense. But if you are interested in the creative part, here’s a quote that I think sums up the whole of the industry today. Sad or a brilliant stroke of motivation for those of us aggressive and violent enough to take it?

“Most of the True Genius poets can’t tie their own shoes. They are beautiful creatures—too beautiful to exist on earth and, for example, eat soup. What makes the Manufactured Geniuses alluring is their ability to interact with humanity—to get the things they want from people. This is crucial to existence in an art community. Asking for what you want is the first and only step toward getting what you want: I think you should review my book. I think you should give me a reading. I think you should give me the Bollingen Prize. The more you repeat requests such as these, the more reasonable-sounding they become. And the better the chances of someone giving you everything you want.”

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