Ezra Pound – The Seafarer – 2

(Allen continues with his observations on  alliterative meter, and (Ezra Pound’s translation of) the classic Anglo-Saxon poem, “The Seafarer”)

AG: Well,  that’s good solid sound that [referring to “The Seafarer“] –  So the principle of the meter is two parts to the line (“Nor eat the sweet nor feel the sorry”, “Lordly men are to earth o’ergiven”) – two parts to the line, or a caesura in the middle of the line. This is, of course, not Old English, or old Anglo-Saxon exact alliterative meter, this is Pound’s adaptation so you get it in the modern language ear (We’ll get to … Read More

The Seafarer – 1

(Allen Ginsberg on Basic Poetics continues. Allen continues today with alliterative meter and (Ezra) Pound’s translation of the old Anglo-Saxon poem, “The Seafarer”)AG: So what else is there ?  Now I want to go back in time, (with (Ezra) Pound (also)), who’s a good time-traveler, poetically, to thealliterative meter that was practiced by… well, actually it’s… the origin is old Scandanavian, old German, Finnish, and Old English. There’s Old English and then there’s Medieval English alliterative. I’m not an expert in either but Pound has done some of the research for us and translated some of the alliterative Old English

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Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)

                         [Allen Ginsberg and Berenice Abbott – Photograph by Hank O’Neal]

From an interview, in 1991, with Thomas GladyszTG: In your book, Berenice Abbott is credited for her “off-hand direction”AG: “Occasionally, I used to visit her up in Maine where she lives. A mutual friend, Hank O’Neal – who edited her last book –  took me to her, and I learned something. I told Robert Frank and he said with a wry smile, “maybe I could show you something too” . She was quite old … Read More

Man Ray (1890-1976)

              [Man Ray and Allen Ginsberg at the English Bookshop, Paris, 1961 – Photograph by Loomis Dean]

Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky, 1890-1976) and Allen Ginsberg  in conversation (Peter Orlovsky) there in the background. The date, we’re surmising, is, on the second of Allen’s sustained Paris visits, in 1961. The location – the cellar of the English Bookshop (42 rue de Seine, Paris), where, as Jean Jacques Lebel, organizer, co-ordinator and provocateur,  points out, “we held many a bilingual reading in the ‘Fifties and ‘Sixties.”Here’s Jean Paul Fargier‘s 1998 tv documentary film on Man Ray … Read More

Harold Norse 1980 Naropa Reading

                                                         [Harold Norse (1916-2009)]

AG: Okay –  Are we about ready for Chapter two of the evening ? – Shall we go on now? –  Harold Norse is a classic Bohemian figure on the (North) American and European poetry scene, We first met, myself and Harold, in.. on the New York subway, around 34thStreet, in 1944, around Christmas-time, when I came down from Columbia University to visit Greenwich Village all … Read More

William Burroughs 1980 Naropa Reading

            [William Burroughs – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – © The Estate of Allen Ginsberg ]
Today, William Burroughs, from a three-person poetry reading that took place at Naropa Institute on August 13, 1980. (Peter Orlovsky, the concluding reader, we’ve already featured (see here)  – Harold Norse, the third of the readers, we’ll feature tomorrow.We meant to run this last week but we got distracted (sic)
AG: The three readers tonight are William Seward Burroughs, Harold Norse and Peter Orlovsky and they will read in that order, Mr Burroughs will … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 247

From the audio-visual archives of RTBF, Belgium’s public-broadcasting organization for the French-speaking community, this delightful footage of Allen (and Peter Orlovsky and Steven Taylor) in Belgium in 1983. Following a short introduction, Allen and company are glimpsed (briefly) walking the streets (of Liege) and then Allen is interviewed (speaking en francais!). Allen and Steven get down at the piano (sic – yes, really) to perform “Father Death Blues” and Allen-in-Austria footage (at the Schule Fur Dichtung/Vienna Poetry Academy – who is that woman sitting across from him at the table at the beginning?) – “I’ll begin with music. Inspiration … Read More

Ezra Pound’s Cantos – 2

                                                         [Ezra Pound (1885-1972)]

AG: So he [Ezra Pound]’s gathering (in Canto LXXXI) from “fine old ear” of Chaucer, that marriage of sense, intellect and song – “Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly” – and the only reason I read that was to see how that line re-echoes throughout the centuries and up to Pound’s time, and why he thought that line was so great, and why the … Read More

Ezra Pound – Canto LXXXI

AG: So I’ll just read that little fragment of  (Ezra) Pound – [“Your eyen two wol sleye me soddenly/I may the beaute of hem nat susteyne”]  – It’s a little bit of.. little bit of gossip. I’ll just read it, read it for what it sounds like to you. I’ll read the whole Canto – Canto 81 – for whatever sense it makes, as a collage of Pound’s prison mental gossip (thinking to himself in prison, notating down little…little nostalgic recollections of pre-World War I) [Allen proceeds to read, in its entirety, (with passing notations), Ezra Pound’s Canto Read More

Ezra Pound – Background to Canto LXXXI

AG: …..And then I mentioned.. we had that little poem by Chaucer- “Your two bright eyes will slay me suddenly,/I may the beauty of them not sustain”  [ Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,/ I may the beautè of hem not sustene”] – Remember?  “Merciles Beautie”  (it’s on page fifty-three).. and I mentioned that Ezra Pound had dug it, dug that particular poem, and I wondered why, or… He quotes it in the Cantos. So I looked it up,. And I thought I’d read you a little description of this Canto and a piece of Pound’s Canto which quotes … Read More