[History of the Russian Revolution – From Marx to Mayakovsky (1965) – by Larry Rivers (1925-2002) – wood, oil, charcoal, serigraphs, and photo-mechanical reproduction on canvas, wood, paper, metal, plexiglass, glass and fiber-board, 169 1/2 x 399 1/4 inches]
AG: “First Prelude to A Poem of the Five-Year Plan” – [Allen prepares to read
Mayakovsky’s famous poem, [“ВО ВЕСЬ ГОЛОС“] “At the Top of My Voice”] And what I’ll do is, there’s certain rhythms in here, which are interesting in English, (but) which are perfect and exact in Russian, so maybe I can stop occasionally,
[Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)]Ann Charters: So we’d like to do a few more things before we end, and the poem which you have in your anthology, “At The Top of My Voice“, which was written a few months before the suicide, in January 1930.AG: Should we have that in Russian first?Ann Charters: YeahAG: You want me to read it in English first? – or do you want to do it in Russian first? Richard Poe has prepared the Russian.Student (RP): Can I go first?AG: Pardon me?Student (RP): Can I go first?AG: Want to come over here to do … Read More
[Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) & Kurt Weill (1900-1950)]
“You gentlemen who think you have a mission/To purge us of the seven deadly sins/Should first sort out the basic food position/Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins/ You lot, who preach restraint and watch your waist as well/Should learn, for once, the way the world is run/However much you twist, or whatever lies that you tell/Food is the first thing, morals … Read More
[Jim Morrison (1943-1971]Turning the heat up (more than) a little, there’s his collaboration with Ministry on what is now a bona-fide “heavy-metal” classic – “Just One Fix” (The more immediate, more palatable, more obvious Ministry-Burroughs collab, A Quick Fix – can be heard here – or here)“Life keeps slipping away/Silence of desperation/Trying to find a highway in vein … Read More
News from New York – it seems that this summer’s regular Howl! Festival won’t be happening this year. More on that story here – and hereIn memoriam – here is a group reading of “Howl” (from the 2010 Howl! Fest)and here is “Plutonian Ode” (from the following year, likewise ensemble).
AG: What did we have? What is the next thing we were going to do? Because I have an idea.Ann Charters; Well, I was going to talk (next) about his (Mayakovsky‘s) work for the Party. I mean, what does a poet do who’s taken up by the Communist Party?AG: OkayAnn Charters: Yeah?AG: That’d be interesting, yeah.Ann Charters: Interesting? No kidding! Very interesting! – I mean, before he kills himself, right?. In 1926.. okay, I’m skipping over the part where Mayakovsky has his trip to America, because we’re going to have a talk about that..AG: At … Read More
[Lili Brik, drawn by her lover Vladimir Mayakovsky, 1916,one year after their meeting]
Ann Charters: So about this, this is a long, long, poem, which, is in my feeling one of his (Mayakovsky‘s) masterpieces – to Lili (Brik) – it’s a Surrealistic poem, (it’s a poem like the “Backbone Flute“, by the way, the poem about his suicide..)AG: “Spine Flute” or “Backbone Flute” – weird title!Ann Charters: Yeah, right – not “A Cloud in Trousers” but a “Backbone Flute”, the one we talked about..AG: Uh-huhAnn Charters: But the poem to Lili … Read More
[Vladimir Ilych Lenin (1870-1924)]transcription from Allen Ginsberg’s “Expansive Poetics” Naropa Class continues
Ann Charters: So okay. And with this poem of “Lenin”,Mayakovsky (this is first read on October 18th, 1924) pledges his loyalty to the Bolsheviks with this poem eulogizing a great man – and Lenin was a great man. I mean, the camps hadn’t yet begun, and so forth. And he decided, or he said to the world in this poem,”Lenin”, that he was turning away from personal lyricism – you remember that line in “ At the Top of My Voice”..