JF: It's the same thing we were talking about before -- it's conventionality, western music, pitch, being in tune.
Jeff: Exactly. I don't recognize that sensibility at all. I don't recognize anything that doesn't recognize a bloom. You were talking about Anne Sexton and her rhythm. The thing missing from your written poetry is [points to his chest] this, the body that gives it meaning and shoots it out into the air.
Poetry comes from the people who make it; the books are just books, blueprints.
Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith, all dark, all romantic.
When I say "romantic," I mean a sensibility that sees everything, and has to express everything, and still doesn't know what the fuck it is, it hurts that bad.
It just madly tries to speak whatever it feels, and that can mean vast things. That sort of mentality can turn a sun-kissed orange into a flaming meteorite, and make it sound like that in a song.
And there's that pretentious label we were talking about before.
People say, "Why dress it up? It needs to be a song. Why all this froo-froo stuff?" Well, why art? Why painting? Why sculpture? It seems as if the world has done away with art altogether, any concern or any relationship with it. So many easy things seem to be over the public's head. But really, if they just came at it a certain way, it would hit them right in the guts; it's so easy.
Smith's and Dylan's and Cohen's power lies in their ability to tell that story so well, and all the stuff on Blonde on Blonde and on [Smith's] Horses and Radio Ethiopia and [Cohen's]Songs From a Room, even Death of a Ladies' Man, which is a sleazy-ass album; it's a real jewel, for someone to be able to sing that, to say that.
Dylan had no ornamentation whatsoever. He had pure feel and pure language coming out of him, and that did all the work. He had such affectation!
[starts imitating Dylan singing "Visions of Johanna"]