Martha Graham: The Purification of Desire

Martha Graham/Captured by Irving Penn/1948/

Interview with Martha Graham
Conducted by James Grissom
New York City

Desire is always the victor. Your desires will determine where the eyes, the limbs, the heart will go and what will be found wherever you happen to go. This is not tragic: This is your destiny. This is your truth.

Desires are not tragic for the most part, but the application of them frequently is. I am talking about distillation, and what I can only call the purification of desire. I am fairly sure that what a person is seeking is beauty or peace or clarification. An answer, really, to so many things. We do so many complex things--are required to do so many complex things--to achieve those simple things that make us happy, and that also make us artists.

Don't be afraid of your desires. Identify them and own them and work well toward expressing them toward others. Desire is not to be confused with obsession or anything unhealthy. Desire is one of the things that makes us human.

And all artists are--at their core--profoundly human, almost abnormally human, because they embrace the beauty of our human spirit so firmly.

© 2014  James Grissom


Popular Posts