More Ballads – (Willy O’ Winsbury)

[from Sam Hester’s cartoon illustration of the ballad, Willy O’ Winsbury]

AG: “Willie o’ Winsbury“..has some interest ..Oh, I like that, because there was some little flash.. In all these ballads, there’s no gay ballads at all, but there’s some occasional flashes of manly homoerotic appreciation of other men, just once in a while, very rarely, but when you get that flash, it’s interesting (or was to me, anyway) – The King has been a prisoner and the King was in Spain, and his daughter lay with Willie of Winsbury all these years. Then the King comes … Read More

More Ballads (Thomas the Rhymer & Tam Lin)

[“Under the Eildon tree Thomas met the Lady” – “illustration by Katherine Cameron from Thomas the Rhymer (retold by Mary MacGregor, 1908)]AG:  “Thomas the Rhymer” is a very famous one. The first line is… (It) sort of echoes – “True Thomas lay o’er yon grassy bank” – you know that phrase? –  “True Thomas..”? – That’s come through some kind of cultural unconscious, from this ballad, “Thomas the Rhymer”. “O..” – and, in that, there’s several great lines. He’s going.. He’s going to Elfland. He’s being conjured, and tells what.., or seduced into Elfland – ““O see not ye yon … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads – (Alison Gross)

[Vittore Carpaccio (1455-1526) – San Giorgio e il drago (St.George and the Dragon) c.1502-08, at the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice]

[Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) – St. George and the Dragon,  the left panel of the Pesaro altarpiece (40 x 36cm) c.1471-74, at Musei Civici, Pesaro]

AG:  And then – Magic.. –  (page) fifty-one – If any of you know paintings by Carpaccio?  or other similar fellows – Bellini? – of the Saint.. killing the dragon.. what was it, St George killing the dragon?,  and the dragons are usually very … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads – (Harpkin & Fin & The Fause Knight Upon The Road)

[“The False Knight on the Road – illustration by Charles Vess]

AG: And then there is an early version of  rapping, and capping, and styling out, and the dirty dozens, between “Harpkin” and “Fin” and the Harpkin ballad – ( A “brae”, (by the way),  is a hill , “strae”, a straw, “thrave” is twenty-four sheaves)
“Harpkin gaed up to the hill./ (He) blew his horn loud and shrill/ And by came Fin./”What for stand you there?”, quo Fin./”Spying the weather”, quo Harpkin./ “What for had you your staff on your shoulder?”, quo Fin/ To haud … Read More

Gay Pride Weekend

Gay Pride Weekend“Enough, I’ve stayed up all might with these boys/And all my life enjoyed their handsome joys/I came with many companions to this Dawn/Now I am tired and must set my pen down/Reader, Hearer, this time Understand/How kind it is for man to love a man/Old love and Present, future love the same/Hear and Read what love is without shame./I want people to understand. They can! They can! They can!/So open your ears and hear the voice of the classical band.”

“Old Love Story”  (from the collection White Shroud (1986)) in its entirety Some think the love of boys is … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 273


[Bernard Plossu – Mexique, Le Voyage méxicain, 1966 © Bernard Plossu]

Opening this week in Paris at the Centre Pompidou, another big Beat exposition (see our announcement back in April). This ambitious multi-media exhibition (up until October 3rd) comprises over six hundred different items – photographs, texts, documents, films, videos, paintings, drawings – and objects and devices for reproducing text, image and sound. A high point is, of course, the presentation of the famous “On The Road” scroll, the thirty-six meter- (one-hundred-and-eighteen foot-) long roll of teletype paper on which  Kerouac typed up his fabled text. … Read More

1969 – Allen Ginsberg Wins His Case in Miami

A little bit of history, brought to us, courtesy of the Lyn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Picture Archives. In 1969, at a reading with his father, Louis Ginsberg, in Miami’s Marine Stadium, Allen’s microphone was egregiously and unceremonially cut-off. Manny Costa, the stadium manager (along with Paul Andrews, assistant city manager) interrupted and summarily curtailed the reading, arbitrarily declaring it to be “obscene”. Allen took the incident to court, arguing that the action violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. The Judge, Judge Carl Clyde Atkins, ruled unequivocally in his favor:

“While Costa’s actions may … Read More

Ferlinghetti on Ginsberg & Blake et al

A brief respite from the ballads today (but more song!)  – and more anon! – one recent You Tube-posted-video that we missed (from a few weeks back, from April of this year) –  spry nonagenarian Lawrence Ferlinghetti attempting William Blake‘s joyous “The Nurse’s Song” (“and all the hills echo-ed”), and, recollecting fondly the genius of his dear friend Allen. This short film by Mauro Aprile ZanettiFernanda Pivano – Complice La Notte” begins with discussion and appreciation of Allen’s great Italian translator, Fernanda Pivano, before moving in to more general discussion of the Beats and of Allen and, … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads – (The Wee Wee Man)

           [“The Wee Wee Man – Vernon Hill –  detail from illustrations to Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912)]  

AG: Then there’s another one that had a very… a ballad called “The Wee Wee Man”, that had very pretty fairy imagery. You know, like, as you will find in Helen Adam‘s later ballads, there’s as  “the bridge of golden beams” (sic). There is.. Well there is some combination of humor and delicacy, just like in Shakespeare.

A little dwarf, a “wee wee man”, stops a Lady and takes her to her castle … Read More

Basic Poetics – Ballads – (Brown Robyn’s Confession)

AG: There are some other ballads I’d like to cover (because we didn’t have a really good one with incest in it, or a stanza with incest), so there is “Brown Robyn” – (the) famous series, (the) “Brown Robyn” series – I’m working from the Penguin Book of Ballads by Geoffrey Grigson – and, maybe, if anybody has any other ballad books, there’s variants of it. It’s called (here) “Brown Robyn’s Confession” – “It fell upon a Wadensday/Brown Robyn’s men went to sea;/But they saw neither moon nor sun/Nor starlight with their e’e./”We’ll cast kevels us amang;/ See where the man … Read More