More Shakespeare (Prospero’s Farewell Speech)

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[Prospero (a fragment from “Prospero, Miranda and Caliban” (1789) – Henry Fuseli  (1741-1825)- via York Museums Trust]

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air: And like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,                                                                               The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am … Read More

Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Conclusion)

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Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa class on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, continuing from here, concludes today. 

Student: Are there (Greek) epic poetry rhymes like this? (like Shakespeare’s Sonnets’ sequence)?

AG: Yes, some are. Some of them are very complicated. Well, not necessarily rhymes. I don’t think that Homer is rhymed, is it? – Homer ain’t rhymed, (but) Homer is just as complicated and different in other ways (Homer’s measured by the vowel-lengths of things – hexameter) – but it’s longer No, (Sir Philip Sidney’s) “Astrophel and Stella”, I think, is a longer Sonnet sequence, possibly.. Others.. There’s ones that mention … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 144 and 152)

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AG: So, where do we go from there?. Here’s one that’s totally disillusioned. Sonnet 144 – It’s the one that was..later on.. (They’re) talking about the two loves, the dark lady and the boyfriend – “Two loves I have of comfort and despair” (It’s not in the book so I’m just reading it)

Two loves I have of comfort and despair, Which like two spirits do suggest me still; The better angel is a man right fair, The worser spirit a woman colour’d ill. To win me soon to hell,

{interpret “hell” as “cunt”, all through this  (or that’s what … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 129)

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AG: Then the next…He’s gone through all these emotional baths with his boyfriend, and is commenting on his own foolery, his own idiocy in getting involved so deeply and getting himself committed so much to love, that it’s a big trap. So… The way he says it is interesting. It’s a rant. (Sonnet 129) – “The expense of spirit in a waste of shame/Is lust in action” – The expansive breath or spirit in “a waste of shame” (like he was in some S & M scene, slave-master relation, begging, pleading, announcing, trumpeting, prophesying that it was going to … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 116)

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[“Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickle’s compass come” (Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116)]

Alle Ginsberg on Shakespeare’s Sonnets continues

AG: Well, let’s get on with a couple more (What time do we have?) – Here’s one that I wanted to get to (we don’t have to do all of them) – (Sonnet) 116 (page 216) – The most perfect examples of logopoeia. Now to get to the heart of the logopoeia – “dance of the intellect among words” or intellection among words – “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments.” – Does … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979

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[Allen Ginsberg at the Atheneum Bookshop, Amsterdam, November 1979. photo: Hans van Dijk / Dutch National Archives]

Allen Ginsberg Reading At Warwick University, 1979  (continuing from yesterday)

AG: I’ll begin since – oh we were discussing the subject . I’ll begin with a song dedicated to another fellow in prison, David Solomon who’s in Brighton…in Bristol jail, as he was sentenced to ten years as part of that big LSD conspiracy bust about a year or two ago – what was the name of that? Julie Operation Julie

[Allen sings a version of “Dope Fiend Blues”- “Dope Fiend Blues Shuffle”]… Read More

Ginsberg-Taylor-Orlovsky-Pickard 1979 Warwick continued

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[Allen Ginsberg and Steven Taylor, 1979]

Allen Ginsberg, Steven Taylor, Peter Orlovsky and Tom Pickard reading at Warwick University, November,  1979  continues from here

AG: Steven Taylor, please favor us with a song (Steven Taylor being a poet as well as being a musician)

ST: I’m going to sing a song that I wrote after first reading the poetry of Anna Akhmatova, the Russian woman poet who was banned by (Joseph) Stalins government in 1929 and was not published after that time. She identified with the wife of Lot in the Bible, who was turned … Read More

Friday Jan 20 (Inauguration Day!)

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[Pen America’s rally on the steps of the New York Public Library last Sunday. Photo: Ghan Patel]

William S Burroughs in 1978 in New York at the Nova Convention

I was just reading over the statements on the poster (sic). I’m primarily concerned with survival, the question of Nova Conspiracies, the new mythologies possible in the space age, heroes and villains with regard to intentions towards this planet, and I realize that this is a very political statement, Now if we see the earth as a spaceship and go further to invoke the comparison of a lifeboat, it is of … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 147)

[Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516) – detail from The Falling of the Damned into Hell  (1482)]

AG: I don’t know. Let’s see.. The one with the..Well, it’s much later, Sonnet 147, when “Hell” (the image of the cunt, incidentally, in the Shakespeare Sonnets) spurts fire (which is the infection). There’s a whole bunch of stuff in here that’s alluded to and some scholars get with. And in this edition, it’s in the footnotes, actually.

Student: Which edition?

AG: This is a Signet edition.The Sonnet 147 (look it up, you don’t have it, I don’t think) – Sonnet 147 does … Read More

Shakespeare (Sonnet 94)

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AG: So, [Sonnet 94]

They that have power to hurt and will do none, That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow; They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces And husband nature’s riches from expense; They are the lords and owners of their faces, Others but stewards of their excellence. The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet, Though to itself it only live and die, But if that flower with base infection meet, The basest weed out-braves his dignity; For sweetest things turn … Read More