Catching Up – Ben Jonson, John Donne)

[Ben Jonson (1572-1637) & John Donne ( 1572-1631)

1980 -Allen was absent and unable to teach one week, so poet Dick Gallup took over his Naropa “Basic Poetics’ class. Allen, on his return, was eager to find out what happened.

AG: What happened with Dick (Gallup)? How was the class?

Student: It was funny

AG: What did you take up?

Student: Everything.. (John Donne),  (Ben) Jonson….

AG: Did he do the Ben Jonson poem on Shakespeare?

Student: No, no, he gave us some background about their lives.

AG: Good, because I don’t know anything about that.

Student He gave … Read More

Ben Jonson (“Slow Slow Fresh Fount..”)

AG:  So what do we want now? – (Ben Jonson’s) “Slow slow fresh fount” ,  Some of you here, What did you make of that? – Page two six-six – a couple of really pretty pieces of cadence (here) now.. I’ve never examined this song very carefully, except  a couple of times it’s really struck me as being real..  just totally lovely music..

“Slow slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears;/Yet slower yet, O faintly, gentle springs!/List to the heavy part the music bears” – So it’s all about music, actually – the” division” here (“Woe weeps out … Read More

Ezra Pound – Two “Piths” From The ABC of Reading

AG: The ABC of Reading from Ezra Pound – yeah how many know that? I recommend taking a look at that or buying it, or reading it. It’s a litttle anthology, like a teaching anthology, to hit high points and special effects in .. you know, Mike? (sic) have you read it?

Student (Mike):  Yes

AG: When?

Student (Mike): In the summer, the past summer..

AG: (We’re)  talking about Ezra Pound’s ABC of Reading. It’s a book I’ve come back to over and over again for clear ideas and suggestions in how to write, how to think about writing. I … Read More

Ezra Pound – Cantos – LXXXI – 2

 

Allen Ginsberg’s commentary on Ezra Pound  continues

AG: …(H)e (Ezra Pound)’s in a cage.. he’s in a prison-camp cage in Italy at the end of World War II, when the Allies have over-run Italy and he’s been captured. And in order to save him from being killed by the pro-Communist partisans (since he had taken Mussolini‘s part in the war and stayed in Italy and made broadcasts), the Chief of American Counter-Intelligence, a man named James Angleton, who had a magazine named Furioso in Carleton College in 1939 with Reed Whittemore, contemporary poet, living … Read More

Ezra Pound Cantos – LXXXI – 1

[Henry Lawes (1595-1662), English composer] – “Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest”

Allen Ginsberg, on Ezra Pound in The Cantos….

AG: Now, look what Ezra Pound did with this. [sic- continuing with metrics]  Could.. this is.. just like the other one that you went over with Stanley (Lombardo) last term – “drop drop drop drop” (Ben Jonson’s “slow, slow fresh Fount“) – it’s one of the great classic ear pieces. So, in The Pisan Cantos, referring to the progress of English poetry, (a page that I read last term, when we sort of…  prefatory to going … Read More

Ben Jonson – (The Triumph of Charis)

[Sandro Botticelli (c.1445-1510) – Primavera (Allegory of Spring)  (1482) – (detail) ]

 continuing with Ben Jonson

AG:   Yeah, well I want to get on to “The Triumph of Charis” – Charis? – Charis. Do you know what that is? It’s a play, originally, I imagine, from a play, or  a longer poem but I think a play Do you know anything about that, the origin of that, Stanley? (sic)

Stanley Lombardo : No

AG: Okay, the measure or the rhythm in the ending of this poem is really exquisite and powerful and really interesting maybe to get on … Read More

A Ben Jonson Reading List

[Ben Jonson (1572-1637)]

AG: I guess it’s nine-thirty. So we’ll go on to Ben Jonson next. And I think I gave you what I  suggested from Jonson was..  two.. do you still have that page?.. two-fifty-two –  (the poem) on his first son – “On My First Son” (“Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy..”)  – (then) – two fifty-six, Salomon Pavey – “An Epitaph on S.P.” (“Weep with me, all you that read/This little story”) – (and) – Little L.H. – “Epitaph on Elizabeth, L.H.”  (“Wouldst thou hear what man can say..”) – … Read More

Comprehensive Reading

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

AG: Edmund Spenser is a colossus, and he’s so big that I think we’ll go around him Except, maybe, one or two, one or two little short things – the Epithalamion – a big Leviathan poem here, marriage poem. What I would suggest is that you go home and read it. It’s got a great stanza form, it’s got a great rhythmic form. So what we might do (here) is read just the first and last stanzas, just to get the stanzaic form get a taste..  Page 162 – I’m sorry..

Well, he’s very brilliant in, you … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 75 (Nikolay Klyuev)

[Nikolay Klyuev (1884-1937)]

August 4, 1981 Naropa Institute, Allen continues his lecture(s) on Expansive Poetics

AG: Well, I thought this time to cover somebody that we had mentioned before, which (is Sergei) Esenin, and to cover Esenin, we also have to cover a little bit of (Nikolay) Klyuev. Those of you who are in Peter (Orlovsky)’s class have heard a lot of Klyuev, but a lot of you haven’t been in that class. So I just want to touch on him. He was a friend of Esenin. [to Peter Orlovsky] – can you pick up on … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 74 – (Mandelstam And Stalin)

[Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) & Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938)]

[Prisoners mining gold at Kolyma, the most notorious Gulag camp in extreme northeastern Siberia – from the 1934 documentary film, Kolyma, courtesy the Central Russian Film and Photo Archives]

AG: The next poem, I think I mentioned before. I’ll read you.. I have only one version here but I’ll read you another also. This is a celebrated poem which got him in trouble, when it was circulated around. It was the attack on Stalin

Мы живем, под собою не чуя страны, Наши речи за десять шагов не слышны, А где хватит на … Read More