More Metrics

[The Foot]

[Human Spine Anatomy]

AG: .Well, the feet would be the… well, basically, the number of stresses in a line would be the number of feet, basically, number of stresses, as distinct from syllables. And a foot would be a varied kind of feet (da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da) – Tyger, Tyger ( da-da, da-da – da-da da) – So there’s four feet in “Tyger, Tyger burning bright” (that’s four feet -right?) – I think the Greek word is “metron” maybe for measure..I don’t know, I’ll have to check that out – hard to find a Greek nomenclature … Read More

Syllabic Poems – 4 (Herrick)

[“Water, water, I desire/Here’s a house of flesh on fire..”]

AG: (returning to an analysis of Robert Herrick)  – “The Scare-fire” (on page two seventy four) – That’s all seven syllables – “Water, water, I desire/Here’s a house of flesh on fire/Ope the fountains and the springs,/And come all to bucketings /What ye cannot quench pull down /Spoil a house to save a town /Better ’tis that one should fall,/Than by one to hazard all. ” – (da-da da-da da-da da, da-da da-da da-da da, da,-da da-da da-da da, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7,)

Now, the weird thing is, … Read More

Some Elizabethan & Jacobean Recommendations

AG: Okay I would like to move.. I would recommend reading that through (Jonson on Shakespeare). I just don’t want to take up our time now. I’m going to go back to later to Edmund Bolton’s “Palinode” (on page 270) [sic],  but I want to pair it with another poem later, so please read that some time . We’ll get to John Webster‘s, a couple of little lyrics, because they’re really beautiful (that’s on page 272) , But I want to go straight to (Robert) Herrick, to.. in order to “strike the second heat/ Upon Read More

Ben Jonson on Shakespeare

AG: Well ,  I think people should go ahead and read the thing on Shakespeare      [Ben Jonson’s “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr William Shakespeare”] by yourselves,

I won’t go over it, except a couple of phrases in here – (page 260)  [sic] -It’s a real good poem. It’s an interesting poem, and it’s well-written, and it’s very.. it’s full of energy, at a certain point – “I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!/ The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!” – (he really gets with it)

But.. later on, he has a … Read More

Jonson’s Lucius Cary & Henry Morison

[ Two Young Men – (ca. 1590) – by Crispin van den Broeck (1523-ca.1591) – oil on panel – 44.5 cm × 60 cm –  Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England]

AG: This (poem) [Ben Jonson’s “To The Immortal Memory and Friendship of That Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir Henry Morison“- is about two young fellows who are really good friends, maybe lovers (there’s some slight suggestion of “heart-love” between them), who died young. As the last line says, on page two-sixty-five, “Who ere the first down bloomèd on the chin/Had sowed these fruits, and got the harvest … Read More

The Structure of the Ode

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Basic Poetics class continues

AG: Strophe (is that pronounced strophee or strophe?)

Student: Strophee, I think

AG: Strophee – or Strophee/Antistrophee maybe – and  Epode. So the anti-strophe or antistrophe would be simply a mirror image of it, perhaps responding, responding to the first statement, and then the epode would be a variation on the form, (not necessarily the same but making use of the similar kinds of lines). And it’s good for certain kinds of formal poems, or occasional poems, or political poems. Like, I wrote Plutonian Ode (but I wasn’t paying attention to the … Read More

Pindaric Odes

[ Pindar (c. 522 – c. 443 BC)]

AG:  So, “..since our dainty age/ Cannot endure reproof,/Make not thyself a page/To that strumpet, the stage/But sing high and aloof,/Safe from the wolf’s black jaw and the dull ass’s hoof “ (that’s the end of that poem (by Ben Jonson) “On Himself” – Ode to Himself) – “Safe from the wolf’s black jaw and the dull ass’s hoof” (A lot of elitist poets have always liked that line as being an acme of put-down of vulgar public – it’s on page two-six-two of the..

Then  you studied … Read More

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

Edward Herbert


[Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Chirbury (1583-1648) ]

Continuing with Allen’s 1980 Naropa lectures, he seems here under the impression that he’s annotating further the poems of George [sic] Herbert, These next poems , however, are, in fact, from Herbert’s older brother, Edward Herbert, himself  (amongst other achievements) an accomplished poet.

AG: So, then, there’s…in an excellent book, Minor Poets of the 17th Century, an Everyman paperback. There’s a couple of funny things, there’s the little note to Ben Jonson (since we know Jonson reasonably well),  Jonson had translated Horace and learned a good deal from … Read More

More on Meters

AG: So there’s tone and pitch and then there’s the long and short vowel, and then there’s a light and heavy accent. So there’s…  Actually, Greek meters did consist in there.. that’s something interesting, these guys, particularly (Ben) Jonson, knew Greek, Greek meters consisted, as modern classicists classify them, (modern classicists classify them, Greek professors classify them), as – stress, accent and quantity (and that’s a little confusing, what’s stress and what’s accent?) – But, usually.. the terminology which is used nowadays, which has been useful for Greek… terminology used for analyzing Greek poetics (which would be useful to … Read More