Christopher Smart – 1

[Christopher Smart (1722- 1771)]

Allen Ginsberg on Christopher Smart continues

AG: And so what I’ll do now is read you some of Smart that you don’t have in the book and then we’ll get on to the book. It looks like that..long lines ..and it’s on facing pages, and on one side it begins, “Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together..”   (it depends., some are missing manuscripts)

“Let Zurishaddai with the Polish Cock rejoice—The Lord restore peace to Europe. For I meditate the peace of Europe amongst family bickerings and domestic jars” (so, it’s “Let” … Read More

Christopher Smart – Intro

[Christopher Smart (1722-1771)]

AG: Lets get on to Christopher Smart on page five one five.

Student: But it sounds…

AG: Sounds, yeah, they’re similar. (Watts and Blake’s lullabies)  I’m sorry, this belongs to…      Now, has anybody read any Christopher Smart before? – One.. two..  Have you read some Smart?

Student: Maxwell Smart ?

AG; No, Christopher Smart.  Do you know any Smart? Do you know.. Is he taught much?  And what Smart is taught?

Student:  Aha!

AG: Is “Rejoice in the Lamb” taught at any great length.? “Jubilate Agno”?  And “Songs to David”? … Read More

Isaac Watts and William Blake

[Isaac Watts ( 1674-1748)]  

[William Blake ( 1757-18270]

AG: Then, the next thing I wanted to pick up is the relation of…   passing on.. to  Isaac Watts  (or back to Isaac Watts, you realize the last week , we’ve taken a long loop from Isaac Watts and are back to Isaac Watts now – second poem of Isaac Watts (in that anthology) is…. what page is that? ..

Student: Four forty-five

AG: Four forty-nine?

Student:  Five

AG; Okay. Did anybody get to read that “Cradle Hymn“?  – third poem. Who likes to read..?

Student: What page?

AG: Four … Read More

Basic Poetics Continuing – (Sappho)

We’ve been transcribing and  serializing Allen’s 1980 Basic Poetics classes at Naropa and we’re almost at the end. In May 15, May 18, and May 22, he discusses Sappho and the Sapphic meter and gives various examples of poets working with this ancient form  (see our previous transcription of these classes, for example, here, herehere, and here)

Picking up on his penultimate class. conducted May 26 1980

Sappho  – translated by Richmond Lattimore  (from Greek Lyrics (Chicago, 1960).

Throned in splendor, deathless, O Aphrodite, child of Zeus, charm-fashioner, I entreat you not with griefs and bitternesses to … Read More

Allen Ginsberg’s Psalm

[“”Ah, but to have seen the Dove of still/Divinity..” – (Allen Ginsberg) – see above – painting by Jack Kerouac]

continuing from yesterday

AG: Okay, I’ll finish this (poem) [“Psalm”], it’s not that much, I’m going to read it through and we’ll have it “And I write shadow changes into bone/To say that still Word, the prophetic image/Beyond our present strength of flesh to bear./ Incarnate in the rain as in the sea./Watches out for us out of our eyes/What sweet dream to be some incorruptible/Divinity, corporeal without a name,/Suffering metamorphosis of flesh/  Holy are the Visions of the … Read More

Yeats and Pound

[W.B.Yeats (1865-1939)]

continuing from here 

AG: Then next..  However, one thing I would point out. You can get equally perfect lyric matter (just like this stuff in the seventeenth and sixteenth century) out of William Butler Yeats‘  poems, particularly his later poems, so he’s really worth studying, Because he’s the only twentieth-cenury poet I know who has an ear equal to Marvell or.. myself..or those guys, King, Shirley...rare. It was rare to find a poet who was writing in rhyme in the twentieth-century that’s really got a good ear. You’ve got a lot of dead dead … Read More

Early Ginsberg – 3 – Two Sonnets

[The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, (1852), By John Martin]

AG: Then I tried some combination… then Shakespeare , then I tried a Shakespeare sonnet (again, the same year (1948). The occasion was  reading the entire manuscript of Kerouac’s The Town and The City, and because it was so monumental and poderoso,  powerful I thought, and the prose was so grand, at the end, toward the end, it got towards Thomas Wolfe-ian, Herman Melvilleian prose, that I realized that we must be on the train to some vast destiny, that all our day-dreamy arty.. walkings-under-the-Brooklyn-Bridge-in-the-moonlight … Read More

Early Ginsberg – 2 – “Do We Understand Each Other?”

[“Over the road in an automobile/Rode I and my gentle love’]

AG: So then there was..an imitation of Herbert’s “Collar” – from George Herbert – Herbert – “Collar”  is.. (page) two ninety-four –and  three hundred –  “Love bade me welcome… ”  Now, in “The Collar”, you get… (two ninety-four, two ninety-five) –  Remember at the end, he says “But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild/ At every word,/ Methought I heard one calling, Child! /And I replied My Lord.” ? You remember that poem? Everybody? Most of you remember that?  Because that was, you remember, a poignant … Read More

Early Ginsberg – 1 – “A Lover’s Garden”

[Neal Cassady, New York City, ca 1946, “in his first suit, bought in Chinatown” photobooth shot, courtesy Allen Ginsberg Collection]

AG: (Where’s (Andrew) Marvell’s “..Garden”?  We”ll take a look at it here [and also at Allen’s “A Lover’s Garden”] …Is this alright what I’m doing?..  I don’t that often teach my own poetry.. (but) this is the first time (that) I’ve got into this. “How vainly men themselves amaze/To win the palm, or oak, or bays” ? What is that? – one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight – so I had an eight-line stanza –  “amaze/bays”,  “see/tree”, “shade/upbraid”, … Read More