From The Elizabethan Songbook (Breath & Air)

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 [ The Fool’s costume (the jester’s costume) – cap ‘n bells]

Student: Yeats wrote a poem called “The Cap and Bells

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…

Peter Orlovsky: Which page?

Student: One-ninety

AG: Oh yes, before.. yes, one-ninety. Before we get there, … Read More

Keats and Shelley – (Keats’ Last Poem)

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[John Keats’ grave at the The Cimitero Acattolico (“Non-Catholic Cemetery”) in Rome, Italy]

 On Keats and Shelley  continued

Student: Have you seen the grave (of John Keats)?

AG: Yeah, sure, many times. I went there with Gregory.. (I) went there alone once and I went there with Gregory (Corso)

Student: I went there and it was closed but there was a little chink in the wall

AG: Yeah, and you can look in..

PO: I don’t think I was there.

AG: I think we went this time with (Fer)nanda (Pivano)

PO: Oh my god!

AG: ..in June, that one … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading in Baltimore – 1978 – 3 (Contest of Bards)

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[Väinämöinen in the Kalevala, the model for the Old Bard in Allen Ginsberg’s “Contest of Bards”]

continuing from last weekend

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

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 296

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[“No One is Illegal” – Ai Weiwei – Photo: Rohit Chawla]

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[“Laundromat” – Ai Weiwei installation, currently on show at Jeffrey Deitch Projects, New York, through to December 23, 2016. Photo: Bobby Doherty]

Ai Weiwei – His current exhibition at New York’s Jeffrey Deitch Projects  – “Laundromat” – One of the aspects, included in the exhibition, one of its inspirations, in fact, is the Allen Ginsberg poem, “September on Jessore Road”.  Weiwei explains:

“Allen is an old friend of mine. He has always had a strong compassion for those in need of help. With the … Read More

Adonais

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[Sketch of the poet John Keats, July  1819,  by Charles Armitage Brown]

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

On Shelley’s “Ode To The West Wind” (Breathing)

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[Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)]

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

Poetic Inspiration

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Student: Spirit?

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.

Peter Orlovsky:  (I suppose) “Spirit”  (is) when you die you go up to heaven.

AG: Well, you go into the air. You fade into the air. [Allen, reading from the dictionary] – “… Read More

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 65

 

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[William Shakespeare (1564-1616) –“The Chandos Portrait” (painted c. 1610)]

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

Allen Ginsberg Reading in Baltimore 1978 – 2

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[Mind Breaths: Poems 1972-1977, the volume of poems by Allen Ginsberg published in 1978 by City Lights]

continuing from yesterday

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

Allen Ginsberg Reading in Baltimore -1978 -1

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[Allen Ginsberg, performing at the Maryland Institute College of Art via MICA Digital Initiatives Unit]

Last weekend we featured a reading by Allen at the Maryland Institute of Art dating from 1969 (one of a number of extraordinary tapes recently digitalized and made available on-line by the Institute’s Decker Library). Today we feature another from that trove, Allen reading and performing at that same venue almost a decade later. Once again, alongside his own work, (accompanied by the ubiquitous harmonium, and a hastily picked-up, confessedly under-rehearsed, guitar-player – “Hoppy from The Moronics”), he performs versions of William Blake, Read More