OCCUPY NOW: the avant-garde is the people

The avant-garde is the people of the world. Never more in my adult life have I realized that the avant-garde is the people of the earth [than] now. No artists, no movement—art movement—can come that will be superior to this motion that’s happened with people all over the world to change the world. Finally. Finally and at last. I’m not talking to idiots. You’ve all felt this! You’ve felt it in your life—don’t tell me you haven’t. You’ve felt it many times in your life. You might have it good, but you’ve seen people eating out of trash cans. I’ve seen grandmothers getting cans so they can make a few dollars. Come on! And we’re supposed to be a society of fairness and democracy. Please! It’s not so. But now has begun a moment that actually is the democratic movement in the world. And that’s why I can only say as a poet I put my words in relation to that. That’s what the poet’s imagination should be.

— Jack Hirschman in conversation with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter Selz at Meridian Gallery on November 4th, 2011.

The Q&A followed a couple of readings, which Ferlinghetti “was told to keep… short so we could have a good bullshit session.” The conversation dealt exclusively with the Occupy movement.