“Love Letter” (to Neal Cassady)

[Neal Cassady (1926-1968) – Photograph by Allen Ginsberg]

AG: Then, Donne – I tried an imitation of  (John) Donne. That was really early. This is like the vers de college, the verse of college days. That was an imitation of… where is our Donne (here(?… There’s a line of Donne’s that I liked was… well, this was more or less an imitation of “For God’s sake hold thy tongue and let me love”. You know that (poem) (on page two three-three) – Remember? Anybody remember? Take a look at that, you’ll see.

Let’s see, I’ll see if I can … Read More

 Allen Ginsberg’s “A Further Proposal”

[Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady, San Francisco, 1963. photo: Allen Ginsberg Estate]

AG:  next – oh yeah, Marlowe – ( (page) twenty-five) –Come Live With Me And Be My Love” – remember that? – Everybody read that?  This was my version of that.

This is to Neal Cassady, but it isn’t very much in the closet, this is 1947, one of the other poems in the book (The Gates of Wrath) and I was then twenty-one– “Come live with me and be my love and we will some old pleasures prove./Men like me have paid … Read More

On “Stanzas Written At Night in Radio City” 

[Radio City Crossing. photo by Henry Silberman]

OnStanzas Written At Night in Radio City” 

[hear Allen in a recording of him reading the poem (from the LP/CD “The Lion For Real”)  here  – (and. here (in 1980), and, from a recording from 1981, in San Francisco  at The Intersection – here]

AG:   “If money made the mind more sane./ Or money mellowed in the bowel/ The hunger beyond the hunger’s pain,/ Or money choked the mortal growl/ And made the groaner grin again,/ Or did the laughing lamb embolden/ To loll where has … Read More

Three Models (Wyatt, Raleigh & Shirley)

[Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542), Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), and James Shirley (1596-1666)]

AG: Then. – one….  from (Sir Thomas) Wyatt. (on page one twenty-two?) – an imitation of Wyatt. You remember the lines in Wyatt about…  (let’s see) where Wyatt is here..? –“My Lute Awake/ perform the last labors…” –  “My lute awake! perform the last/ Labour that thou and I shall waste,/ And end that I have now.…” ..do..? …is that it? – Where’s Wyatt (in our books)?.. what page is it? – one-twenty?.. yes, here, at one-twenty…)

Well, there is that – “My lute … Read More

Pull My Daisy (Collaborative Poem)

AG: And another one of the similar.. well, of a similar theme, just a crazy (crazy).. – the mad song?  you know, just the idea of the madman’s song?, was – “Pull My Daisy”,  (which began as a little lyric that I wrote, “Pull my daisy/tip my cup…”) – “Pull my daisy/tip my cup/Cut my thoughts/for coconuts...” – (Well I heard, at some point, about Christopher Smart, actually) –  “When I think of death/ I get a goofy feeling/Then I catch my breath/Zero is appealing/Appearances are hazy/Smart went crazy/Smart went crazy” – (Christopher Smart, I meant with that – … Read More

Allen Ginsberg and “The Shrouded Stranger”

[Lamont Cranston – The Shadow –  “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”]

AG: This isn’t in the the same meter (as Tom O’ Bedlam) but it’s a similar theme – [Allen next proceeds to read, in its entirety, his poem “The Shrouded Stranger“] – So that was somewhat the same theme. And then (Jack) Kerouac, at the same time, was saying, or conceiving.. We were discussing the notion of the shrouded stranger, a ghostly figure, or, you know, a shroud of New York, a shroud of the East River.  So he wrote up… … Read More

The Wisdom of the Crazy – Tom O’Bedlam

[”From the hag and hungry goblin/that into rags would rend ye/All the sprites that stands by the naked man/In the book of moons, defend ye..”]-  (image from Guillaume-Benjamin Duchenne de Boulogne – Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine) (1862),] 

AG (from 1980):  We’ve been going through these poems of such persons as the Tom o’ Bedlam anonymous lyric, Marlowe, Wyatt, Donne, Marvell, Herbert, Shakespeare, Milton   (and I’ve been recommending everybody to get the rhythm in their bones and learn the stylistics).

And so now I want to… I mentioned that when I was beginning to study … Read More

Andrew Marvell – The Garden – 3

[Michelangelo – The Creation of Adam – detail of  fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, painted c.1508-1512]

Allen Ginsberg on Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” continues

Student:  I don’t understand.  (In the last part [of Marvell’s poem, “The Garden”], I think I don’t follow the argument)

AG: Okay… which are we speaking of? –  the next-to-last, or the last stanza?

Student: (In the last two stanzas…)

Such was that happy garden-state,/ While man there walk’d without a mate;/ After a place so pure and sweet,/ What other help could yet be meet!/ But ’twas beyond … Read More

Andrew Marvell – The Garden – 2

Allen Ginsberg continuing – on Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden”

“How vainly men themselves amaze/To win the palm, the oak, or bays,/And their incessant labours see/Crown’d from some single herb or tree,Whose short and narrow verged shade/Does prudently their toils upbraid;/While all flow’rs and all trees do close/To weave the garlands of repose.”

AG: That is to say, all these people struggling in the city (it’s the beginning of the city again, and it’s..  he’s paralleling that poem that we read before by (Abraham) Cowley about “the crowd, and buzz, and murmurings,/Of this great hive the city.” – “Ah, yet, ere … Read More

Andrew Marvell – The Garden – 1

[Section of late 16th Century English embroidery, “The Garden of Eden”, currently in the collectionof the Metropolitan Museum in NewYork]

Allen Ginsberg on Andrew Marvell continuing from here 

AG: Okay, move on now to “The Garden”, on page three seven four. .And “The Garden” is considered by many people to be the greatest lyric poem in the English language, on account of it has great sound, it has great picture, it has great intellectual capacity and significance, it is transcendent intellectually in that it goes of into a sphere of mind-awareness that is beyond anything so far displayed in … Read More