Our focus today – Eric Mottram, (1924-1995), author of (among many other titles) the brief survey, Allen Ginsberg in the Sixties – a poet, critic and scholar, a central figure in the English/transatlantic connection, one of the earliest, most astute and most passionate, readers and observers and commentators on Allen’s work.
Mottram on Ginsberg, from a lecture, given at Kings College London, circa 1970
“He [Allen]’s very conscious now of finding strategies for being very very private in public.”
He goes on:
“But if you are going to say, “okay, private life is primary, the body is primary, … Read More
AG: Now we’ll find out about him..let’s see, Lovelace’s history. He was a friend of… Dick Lovelace was a friend of Jack Suckling, as you remember. Lets see now.. what is this?,.. born in Woolwich, 1618, died in Gunpowder Alley, near Shoe Lane, London, April 1658.. he was an improvisateur. “a more slovenly poet than Lovelace it would be difficult to find” (according to this editor from the nineteenth-century).
Well, here is the situation – (he has several poems about prison, which we’ll get to)
“Imprisonment from which he was suffering was brought on him
AG: Now, next we get to (Abraham) Cowley , below, (page) three-sixty, And the reason Cowley gets interesting is , finally, for the first time, the horrific City. enters in (as it will get increasingly, prophetically, apparent entering into the poetry.. (William) Blake will, pretty soon, (be) talking about.the opening (of the) streets of London and the “satanic mills”, and it’ll go on to the twentieth-century with “Moloch whose cities are…” ” filled up with plutonian factories drizzling in the toilet!”) – So here in “The Wish”, the vision the horror in the city,
Allen Ginsberg on Richard Crashaw continuing from here
AG: Then he (Crashaw) also has another poem that has a very pretty triplet thing,It’s rare in English to find three lines (one short, one longer, and then one longest, with the same rhyme -“be/she/me”, “lie/eye/destiny”, “birth/ forth/earth”)
[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
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.”
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
“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
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