A List of List Poems

AG:  But by this anaphoric rapture, or anaphoric repetition, it {Crashaw’s poem “The Flaming  Heart”] actually builds up to rapture. So this is what Anne Waldman calls a list poem”, actually, an early list poem. I taught a little poetry workshop this weekend and checked out list poems and the samples I used were (the) thirteenth and twenty-eighth chapters of Ecclesiastes (because there is “..or the golden bowl be broken”), and then I read Christopher Smart, I used “Like to the flaming of a star.”,  the little.. – I used that as a list
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Richard Crashaw – 2 (Saint Teresa)

[Gian Lorenzo Bernini – St Teresa in Ecstasy (detail) ) c.1647-52]
AG: But better than those, there’s one other poem to Saint Teresa, which begins, idiotically, with the image that her heart was so hot that the angels would be set fire by it, rather than the angels setting fire to her heart, or something like that.. Saint Teresa – “(The Flaming Heart) Upon The Book and Picture of (the seraphical) Saint Teresa (As she is usually expressed with Seraphim beside her)” –  So the whole poem is not worth our time now, we’re limited, but the end … Read More

Richard Crashaw

AG: Then we have now Richard Crashaw,  page three-five-six- There’s a funny Shakespearean line in that middle poem, “To The Infant Martyrs”.  Has anybody read that already? Anybody read on through Crashaw at all? (because somebody could read “”To The Infant Martyrs” – whoever starts reading could read it
Student -[reads] – “Go, smiling souls, your new-built cages break,/ In heaven you’ll learn to sing, ere here to speak,/ Nor let the milky fonts that bathe your thirst/Be your delay; /The place that calls you hence is, at the worst,/ Milk all the way.”
AG: … Read More

Anne Bradstreet

[Anne Bradstreet ( 1612-1672)]

Allen continues his 1980 Naropa lectures on Bssic Poetics – continuing from here 

AG: Now, naturally, while this is going on, there are all these heavy-handed people chomping and killing the Indians in America, in the name of God! – So, there’s a first..there’s a first gleam, coming over from America  in the middle of the English wit and chaos, there’s Anne Bradstreet, Jones Very (another great poet), Edward Taylor   (I don’t think Jones Very and Edward Taylor are here (in our anthology) but there’s a lady, Anne Bradstreet, the first American woman poet (pre-feminist … Read More

WCW on WNET continued

USA Poetry – William Carlos Williams –  transcript continues  (see here)

[note –  on occasion some

from the Letters of William Carlos Williams

To Kay Boyle (1932)

“Dear Kay Boyle….. There is no workable poetic form extant among us today..Joyce and Stein have..gone out of their way to draw down the attention on words so that the line has become pulverous instead of metallic – or at least ductile…For myself I have written very little poetry recently. Form, the form has been lacking. Instead I have been watching speech in my own environment from which I continually expect … Read More


Following on from last week’s WNET USA Poetry feature (on Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti), another episode from that series, this one on Allen’s great hero, William Carlos Williams.  William Eric Williams, the poet’s son, (something of a ringer for his father), is the stand-in (Williams having passed away a couple of years earlier).  He (the younger Williams.) is shown, at home. in his neighborhood, Rutherford, New Jersey, going about his daily routine and continuing with the family (pediatric) practice.

Flossie“, Williams’ widow (and William Eric’s mother), who didn’t die until 1976 – William Eric died in … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up -346

[Allen Ginsberg in the studio, recording William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience”]

Amanda Petrusich, writing in The New Yorker

“The membrane between poetry and“song,” as we think of it in 2017, has always been flimsy and permeable; once all poems were songs. Ginsberg’s weird, wobbly singing [in “The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience” CD] is sometimes dissonant, but it gets at something essential to Blake’s work. It’s as good a narration of the phases of a life as I can think of..”

Might we recommend, as a holiday gift, this holiday…?

The re-release of Allen’s William Blake … Read More

Sir John Suckling – 6 ( “The Deformed Mistress”)

[The Ugly Duchess – Quentin Matsys,  c. 1513, oil on wood 64.2 cm x 45.5 cm, National Gallery, London]

Allen’s notes on John Suckling continue and conclude

AG: And then the last…  then there are two other poems that are worth checking out – “The Deformed Mistress” ( this is written by the handsomest man of his age, and the richest) – “I know there are some fools…” – (it’s like there’s a line in (W.H.) Auden –  “Tell then of witty angels who/Come only to the beasts/ Of Heirs Apparent, who prefer/ Low dives to formal feasts;/For … Read More

Sir John Suckling – 5 (Suckling and Jonson)

[“Or hast thou viewed the peacock in his pride”]  

Then he [John Suckling]  also was quite a scholar and was interested in the same things we are in poetics so he did a little imitation of (Ben) Jonson’s poem on page two-sixty, the “Oh so white…” – remember that one that we went over so much. – from “The Triumph of Charis?

“Have you seen but a bright lily grow/Before rude hands have touched it/Have you marked but the fall of snow/Before the soil hath smutched it?/Have you felt the wool of beaver,/Or swan’s down ever?/Or have … Read More

Sir John Suckling – 4

[“Love is the fart/Of every heart” – Floral border to Le Livre des hystoires du Mirouer du monde, Paris 15th century]

AG: So on page three fifty-four. (more Suckling) – “Out upon it I have loved three whole days together” – “Out upon it, I have lov’d/Three whole days together;/And am like to love three more,/If it prove fair weather./ Time shall moult away his wings,/Ere he shall discover/In the whole wide world again/Such a constant lover./ But the spite on’t is, no praise/Is due at all to me;/Love with me had made no stays,/Had it any been but … Read More