Spontaneous Poetics – 134

Image 20 of 35, AG: Has everybody here seen the illustrated colored version of Songs of Innocence and Of Experience? Raise your hands if you have not. How many have not. Well, very few haven’t,  there is a copy here in the library – Trianon Press, Trianon Press Editions, which has reproductions, I think, of the Lessing J. Rosenwald copy of Songs of Innocence and Experience. Blake originally etched the poems and pictures around them and then hand-colored them with his wife, and then printed about twenty-five copies altogether, and then hand-colored each one. So there’s a complete pretty colored reproduction of that entire book … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 133

BEING GENIUSES TOGETHER.AG: That was one of the most influential (books) that I ever read – Being Geniuses Together. That’s what determined my particular attitude toward companionship in the Beat Generation.Student: Can you enlarge on all (that)?AG: Well, a realization that almost every gesture (I) make is history, so I try and make pretty gestures. So I try to keep my gestures interesting..Student: (That) must be hard work!AG: ..like having nervous breakdowns in Naropa English classes!Student: You don’t look like you’re having a nervous breakdown.


AG: Well, I really am.Student: Are you?AG: You wouldn’t believe it. It’s all your fault for telling me … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 132

Student: I’d like to ask you and Philip Whalen what languages that you read poetry in besides English and in what ways you find it useful?AG: I read Spanish – (Federico Garcia) Lorca and (Pablo) Neruda, and Saint John of the Cross, and various little odd things in Spanish – and I was influenced a good deal by Lorca’s “Ode to Walt Whitman” – the rhythm and sort of the general attack of it – viejo hermosa Walt Whitman,/he dejado de ver tu barba llena de mariposas,/ni tus hombros de lana gastados pro la luna..” – “Not for one single moment, beautiful  old … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 131 (Henri Michaux)

Henri Michaux Student: I wanted to ask you about Henri Michaux AG: Yes Student: And Ed Dorn, and James Tate AG: Henri Michaux, Ed Dorn and James Tate! – Well, once I was standing on a street corner in Paris, talking with Henri Michaux and Gregory Corso. And, let’s see, it was 1965 probably, and we’d known Michaux since (19)58). He’d come to visit. He lived around the block in Paris from Rue Git de Coeur, where we lived. He lived on Rue Segur near the Seine, on the Left Bank. He came in. I’d left a note saying … Read More

Spontaneous Poetics – 115 (Wordsworth – 1)

William Wordsworth, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1818 - NPG 3687 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

[William Wordsworth (1770-1850) – chalk drawing by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1818 – 21 1/2 in. x 16 1/2 in. via National Portrait Gallery]

AG: …with (William) Wordsworth, we have a funny, odd, different adaptation. Wordsworth  [like (Walt) Whitman] also had a pantheistic vision of the universe. So I’ll just present one longish poem of Wordsworth as the equivalent of Leaves of Grass – Wordsworth’s younger and visionary (poetry) – 1798 – “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey On revisiting the Banks of the Wye during A Tour, July 13, 1798” How many here … Read More

Allen Ginsberg June 1986 Radio Interview

City Lights put up (as a podcast, on-line) earlier this summer, an interview (a phone-interview) with Allen, dating from the mid-1980’s, the (Ronald) Reagan era, (June 2 1986, in fact, the day before Allen’s 60th birthday!). We thought to shine some more light on it, to feature it this weekend. Here follows a transcription.  Allen, with the two interviewers, Walter Isgro, and another, un-named, (the context being a visit to the state of Maine), discuss poetic history, censorship, art, education, politics (both global and local) and Allen and the Beats as representatives of a tradition, the tradition of “good old American individualism”.“… Read More