AG: Well (W.B.) Yeats did.. (that’s more) Irish..This is Cap and Bells too. I just (give you) that – but I wanted to get back into the breath into the open space. So it’s sort of insubstantial breath finally, So we can go back to Samuel Daniel. where we were, on page one-hundred-and-ninety, can sort of get back into…
Allen presents, as the last part of his reading at the Maryland Institute College of Art, February 16. 1978, a complete reading of his recently-completed epic poem, “Contest of Bards”
AG: (The poem was written in) 1977..so, just about a year and.. a year and a month ago, here in town. (in Baltimore) – -[Editorial note – Ginsberg also elsewhere noted that sections were written in Washington DC] It’s divided into three parts. and I had been reading all … Read More
AG: Then a similar thing to Shelley was a very great poet at this particular colossal rhyme, the colossal breath, heroic or colossal breath, I guess, is Adonais (do folks know that? Adonais? – how many have read through Adonais? – how many have not? – Adonais – well, that’s a great one. That’s his elegy on the death of poor old John Keats, (it’s on (page) 685, well the verses I want are on 685). That’s really best… You notice it begins on page … Read More
AG: Another person who.. (we’re getting back to breath now) is Shelley’s “Ode To The West Wind” (in this book on page 669). How many have read Shelley’s “Ode To The West Wind” here? How many have not? How many have not read Shelley’s “Ode To The West Wind”? How many have heard it read aloud ? [show of hands] – Okay . And how many have read it aloud themselves? – Well, it’d be interesting.. Let me try reading it aloud once and then we’ll all read it aloud. It’ll be fun. But the only … Read More
AG: As respiration, inspiration, spiritus, Holy Spirit! (the holy breath)…let me see what it says here [Allen points to his book (a dictionary)] – I don’t think this is etymological.. it may be…let’s see.. “spiritus” – How many did not know spirit meant breath, breathing? – and how many knew? [show of hands] – That proves it. Most knew. In other words, it’s known.
AG: So because there is that meeting place of all emotions and breath, of emotion and breath, and language, and cadence, because some poets arrive at it, therefore it’s possible for them to straighten their backs and say, “Not marble, nor the gilded monuments/ Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme”. He (Shakespeare) says it again in Sonnet 65, next page “Since brass..” (even brass now, not merely stone or marble gilded monuments but the actual solid brass itself) – “Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless … Read More
AG: So, actually, I was in the hospital and I actually went out of my skull, I was full of antibiotics and fever and it seemed like it was about time to take a meat axe to that dirty Jew’s skull or something, (that was what I was telling my poor Jewish brother about Kissinger). So, finally, I wound up in a sort of state of punk ecstasy. So two poems about sickness, one a description and one a … Read More