“You see, our society is schizophrenic. It’s split. We’re all split. The split is at the heart of the matter. What is the heart of the matter? Art and life are split. The world of the fishermen, the world of the working man, the world of the working woman — the real world, as apart from art, is separated. I don’t see it. I see it as one. Because out of my living comes my art. Out of my art comes my living. It’s working together. It’s in motion all the time.

“When I’m with the fisherman, or with anybody, I don’t care who it is, they sense that I’m me. They don’t associate me as a poet per se. I’m a human being first. That’s why I make contact with them. But there are a lot of artists who are assholes. They’ve got this fucking flag. On the flag it says, “Me, I’m an artist.” Right off you see the doubt come in. That’s what causes all the trouble. Now artists that do this, are fundamentally insecure. They tend toward the elites. I despise that. I really do. That’s what perpetuates this schism.”

Vincent Ferrini 1978

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Excerpted from: Vincent Ferrini interview, February 22, 1978

Linda Brayton and David Masters, interviewers; historians with the CETA-funded Gloucester Arts and Humanities Program.

This audio recording was digitally re-formatted and archived in the Sawyer Free Library collection, “Toward an Oral History of Cape Ann.” Some parts of it are difficult to understand clearly. Transcription by Martin Ray, January 2019.