AG: Well, I thought this time to cover somebody that we had mentioned before, which (is Sergei) Esenin, and to cover Esenin, we also have to cover a little bit of (Nikolay) Klyuev. Those of you who are in Peter (Orlovsky)’s class have heard a lot of Klyuev, but a lot of you haven’t been in that class. So I just want to touch on him. He was a friend of Esenin. [to Peter Orlovsky] – can you pick up on … Read More
Allen Ginsberg in Ireland – (Allen filmed in Galway, when he was over for the Cúirt Literary Festival, in 1995). Local “character”, Mark Kennedy (of Streetcorner Productions) recently put up on You Tube a curious half-hour documentary (from 2007), perhaps more revealing of him than it is about Allen, but we thought, nonetheless, we would share. “Getting To Ginsberg” is the title, focusing, as it does on the frisson – a tired and harrassed Allen is, at one point, quite explicitly, telling Kennedy “You’re being irritating”..”You taking advantage of me to talk about yourself on..camera, and then talk about me in … Read More
[Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) & Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938)]
[Prisoners mining gold at Kolyma, the most notorious Gulag camp in extreme northeastern Siberia – from the 1934 documentary film, Kolyma, courtesy the Central Russian Film and Photo Archives]
AG: The next poem, I think I mentioned before. I’ll read you.. I have only one version here but I’ll read you another also. This is a celebrated poem which got him in trouble, when it was circulated around. It was the attack on Stalin
Мы живем, под собою не чуя страны,
Наши речи за десять шагов не слышны,
А где хватит на … Read More
[Statue of Osip Mandelstam (1891-1838) (by Lazar Gadayev (1938-2008)), erected 2008, in Voronezh, Russia]
AG: Ah, what else is here? Has anybody read through this, the (Osip) Mandelstam section (in the Expansive Poetics anthology)? I won’t go through it but I recommend you read the Unknown Soldier poem which begins it [editorial note – that is, the section of the Unknown Soldier poems that Allen has selected for his anthology]. There are parallel translations. Let’s see if there’s anything good in that. The end is interesting (as if from a soldier – but it’s him). It’s his … Read More
[Nikita Khruschev at the Moscow Union of Artists 30th Anniversary Exhibition at the Manege, Moscow, December 1, 1962]
AG: “The way of the grave straightens a hunchback” – this is a Russian proverb actually – “Only a grave can straighten a hunchback” – which the late Nikita S Khrushchev made internationally famous – [to Student] – Do you know about that, Ivana [sic]? – by quoting it to the assembled writers and artists at the Manege Exhibit in 1961 (1962) – Does anybody know about that scene? – Khruschev went to an exhibition of modern Soviet painting in 1962. In … Read More
Allen Ginsberg’s class, July 1980 on Expansive Poetics (Russian Expansive Poetics) continues. Today’s episode begins with some confusion with the text book, before Allen (and Peter) get down to discussing the text.
AG: (Osip) Mandelstam, then, has these texts here. For those of you who have the anthology you might move to that. He’s 1891 [the anthology was ordered in terms of the individual date of each poet’s birth] – a funny poem on the unknown soldier, which is at the beginning..
Student: (What number?)
AG: Number 362. I’m just starting at random in certain aspects with certain poems.
… Read More
We’ve featured several versions on The Allen Ginsberg Project of Allen reading from his landmark poem, “Howl” (most recently, this one, reading with the Kronos Quartet (featuring a setting by the late Lee Hyla) , but also this one, Allen’s 1994 reading as a benefit for Jewel Heart) – here’s another, the 1995 reading at The Knitting Factory in New York City
Frank O’Hara, whose poems, Allen memorably wrote, “taught me to really see New York for the first time” (“like having Catullus change your view of the Forum in Rome” (!)) is currently being feted by City Lights, with a brand-new, expanded, “50th Anniversary edition” … Read More