Kenneth Patchen on audience

"I don't usually think of it [audience] in terms of people I know or people who are reading reviews, or buying books, or what-have-you. I'd like to just say that I hope my audience includes somehow... the spirits of some of the men now dead who worked in poetry and in the other arts and I don't feel that they're dead at all. This is perhaps a sentimental way of putting it, but it's a very real thing to me. I'm often consoled thinking about some of the poets and artists who have had no 'audience,' as people think of audience, someone like William Blake for instance... These men who were read by no one, known by no one in their time, yet command a hearing by men of spirit. And all artists have anyway, is this one little pinpoint of light in the darkness, the fact that out of all the morass of mediocrity and conformity there is this small current of communication, not with an audience limited or confined to a period of time, but an audience which resides solely in terms of the human spirit, and if anything lasts on earth, if is this, a small thing, but a thing which, until now at least, has sown more endurance than anything else that man has advanced before him, this small light, this small desire to be true, not so much to art, no man knows anything about that, but true to the best instincts and feelings in himself in regard to what he does. This thing to me is all of it, the rest of it just talk, hot air."