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

More Ben Jonson (“Queen and Huntress”)

[Artemis with a hind, better known as “Diana of Versailles”. Marble, Roman artwork, Imperial Era (1st-2nd centuries CE). Found in Italy]

AG: Okay, well, the next.. next poem,  (Ben Jonson’s) “Queen and Huntress” is total silver horns, really, a meter that’s… this is, I guess, just.. this is the same rhythm as (William) Blake’s “Tyger, Tyger, basically, this is the trochaic meter (that I was pointing out here – [Allen again points to the blackboard ] – “Tyger/Tyger”, or, “Queen And/Hunt-ress”)  – Well, “Queen, and huntress, /chaste and fair” – Got that? – bomb-a bomb-a bomb-a ba –  … Read More

More Ben Jonson (“Our Beauties Are Not Ours”)

[Chinese “life-like” robot, on display at the Tianjin Meijiang Convention Center, China, June 24, 2016 – Photograph via China Daily News]

More Ben Jonson…

AG: “Our beauties are not ours” – that’s really good – that other line following – “Our beauties are not ours” – It’s a great Buddhist line – We don’t own anything. We can’t claim anything. We can’t keep anything. ” Our beauties are not ours” is just the same as “Brightness falls from the air” – [from Thomas Nashe’s “In Time of Plague”] – Brightness falls from the air, it doesn’t stay … Read More

Ben Jonson (“Slow Slow Fresh Fount..”)

AG:  So what do we want now? – (Ben Jonson’s) “Slow slow fresh fount” ,  Some of you here, What did you make of that? – Page two six-six – a couple of really pretty pieces of cadence (here) now.. I’ve never examined this song very carefully, except  a couple of times it’s really struck me as being real..  just totally lovely music..

“Slow slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears;/Yet slower yet, O faintly, gentle springs!/List to the heavy part the music bears” – So it’s all about music, actually – the” division” here (“Woe weeps out … Read More

Ezra Pound Cantos – LXXXI – 1

[Henry Lawes (1595-1662), English composer] – “Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest”

Allen Ginsberg, on Ezra Pound in The Cantos….

AG: Now, look what Ezra Pound did with this. [sic- continuing with metrics]  Could.. this is.. just like the other one that you went over with Stanley (Lombardo) last term – “drop drop drop drop” (Ben Jonson’s “slow, slow fresh Fount“) – it’s one of the great classic ear pieces. So, in The Pisan Cantos, referring to the progress of English poetry, (a page that I read last term, when we sort of…  prefatory to going … Read More

Ben Jonson’s Metrics

[ “Or have tasted the bag ‘o the bee?”]

Allen Ginsberg’s Basic Poetics class from 1980 continues from here. Allen, at this time, and throughout his Naropa teaching time, was interested in instilling a basic regard for the rudiments of poetry – metrical analysis – quantitative meter (see, for example, here, here and here) – Such matters lose somewhat in simple unalloyed transcription (it is for this reason that an accompanying audio is provided – see here) – Also, Allen makes much use of the blackboard on this occasion (something, again, obviously, unreproducible in the following notes). … Read More

Ben Jonson – (The Triumph of Charis)

[Sandro Botticelli (c.1445-1510) – Primavera (Allegory of Spring)  (1482) – (detail) ]

 continuing with Ben Jonson

AG:   Yeah, well I want to get on to “The Triumph of Charis” – Charis? – Charis. Do you know what that is? It’s a play, originally, I imagine, from a play, or  a longer poem but I think a play Do you know anything about that, the origin of that, Stanley? (sic)

Stanley Lombardo : No

AG: Okay, the measure or the rhythm in the ending of this poem is really exquisite and powerful and really interesting maybe to get on … Read More

Ben Jonson – (“Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes”)

AG:   To (Ben)  Jonson. What I wanted to get onto was page two-sixty, “The Triumph of Charis“.. oh no, before that, we did that, those two little epitaphs, on page two fifty-six, two fifty-seven – and, on the way out, (Ted) Berrigan reminded me of a poem he likes particularly, “On Gut”  – “Gut eats all day and lechers all the night..” – page two fifty-six – patting his belly and preaching on gut – “Gut eats all day and lechers all the night;/So all his meat he tasteth over twice;/Andm striving so to double his … Read More