Allen Ginsberg – Ars Poetica – Dallas Texas 1980 – Joe Stanco Interview

Following on from last weekend, and complimentary to an earlier tape that we featured (from Richmond College, Dallas Texas), another video gem from the Stanford Archives – Ars Poetica – An Interview with Allen Ginsberg conducted by Joe Stanco

[The participants begin, caught in conversation, in media res]

JS: Oh. – My name is Joe Stanco and I’m talking today with Allen Ginsberg and, at the moment, we were discussing Ezra Pound who’s certainly..in fact you said, at one point, “the most important American poet since Whitman

AG: I guess. Yeah. Well… (Because ) he had more effect … Read More

Vowels and Music – (Poundian Poetics)

continuing with Allen’s commentary in his 1980 Basic Poetics Naropa class on Ezra Pound’s Manifest”

AG: I was talking about it [about “melodic coherence” and Hart Crane’s “Atlantis”].  There’s partly some element of cadence – da da da da-da da da da –da – “O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits” – that’s the rhythmic cadence.   So melodic cadence of those vowels – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – that’s melodic coherence – That make sense? Mel-o-dy? tune-al coherence

And “of the tone-leading of the vowels” -. “tone-leading of the vowels”  (… Read More

Ezra Pound and “The Duration of Syllables”

[Ezra Pound (1885-1972)]

“If the verse makers of our time are to improve on their immediate precursors we must be vitally aware of the duration of syllables of melodic coherence, and of the tone leading of the vowels” (Ezra Pound)

AG: So now what is this?. “The duration of syllables” he (Pound) understands, how.. – (understands) long and short syllables – the idea of it. So he’s saying America should then try to begin to hear the difference between a long and short syllable.  In another place, he says that he thinks the direction of American poetry will be in … Read More

Ezra Pound’s Manifest

[Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg and Fernanda Pivano, Portofino, September 23, 1967 Photo: Ettore Sottsass]

AG: So here’s another comment on it (“To Mr Henry Lawes And His Airs”) – and then I’m comparing that with a little thing I saw copied out – “A Preface to Poems by Basil Bunting 1950, from the Cleaners Press, Galveston, Texas”, a brief essay by Ezra Pound which is also lost in leaves of history, never been reprinted, called “A Manifest As of 1950”, signed by a guy named Dallan Flynn, because, I think that Ezra Pound was by then … Read More

“Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song..”

[John Milton (1608-1674)]

[Henry Lawes (1596-1662)]

Allen Ginsberg’s 1990 Basic Poetics class at Naropa,  continuing from last week.

AG: On page three-two-four – “To Mr Henry Lawes on His Airs” – “Airs” – tomb – “Lawes and Jenkyns be thy guest…” – remember from Ezra Pound? Pisan Cantos? – “Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest/Dolmetsch ever be thy guest” – same  Henry Lawes, the musician – “Harry..”  (Henry Lawes)  (hey! Harry!)

“Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song/First taught our English music how to span/Words with just note and accents, not to scab/With Midas’ ears, committing  short … Read More

Composition and Condensation – 1

[Basil Bunting tries his hand at editing Shakespeare]

AG:  And then there was another thing.. I was talking with…Rachel [sic]…with Rachel..and we were talking about composition and condensation of poems and ..some ideas crystallized that might be useful. I’ve talked about it before I thought but apparently I had never said it around Rachel (tho; I thought I said it in any number of..over a dozen classes) there was that idea of Basil Bunting‘s, which (Ezra) Pound handed on, which was that poetics was condensation – and I think I’ll talk about that – and I’ve applied it in … Read More

Objectivism at Michigan Poetry Conference , 1973

Our feature today – the extraordinary gathering on Objectivist poetics that took place in 1973 in Allendale Michigan and Allen’s participation in it. We are indebted to the labors (both with video and transcription) of Steel Wagstaff. His introduction to the occasion (on the poetry-site, Dispatches)  may be read here. Below is some transcription of Allen’s contribution (his engagement with Charles Reznikoff, Carl Rakosi, and George Oppen). For a complete transcript (provided by Wagstaff) – see here

[Seidman House, Grand Valley State College, Allendale, Michigan, 1973]

Charles Reznikoff: Oh I say., May I suggest, isn’t … Read More

Herrick’s Daffodils

AG: And then there’s a very nice one “To Daffodils”.. in term of the meter count, no, in terms of the syllable count. Dig what he’s got there –

“Fair Daffodils, we weep to see (eight syllables) /You haste away so soon (six syllables)/ As yet the early-rising sun (eight syllables)/Has not attain’d his noon (six syllables)/ Stay, stay, (two syllables)/ Until the hasting day (six syllables)/Has run (two syllables)/ But to the even-song (six syllables) / And, having pray’d together, we (eight syllables)/Will go with you along. (six (syllables)

We have short time to stay, as you, (eight)/ … Read More

Composed on The Tongue

AG: (It’s a collection of) ..spontaneous writings, at different times. And some of the stuff is (from quite (recent), here,) at Naropa (The last piece from (19)74-(19)75, and some interviews done here around (19)75. And then a long conversation with Michael Aldrich, Edward Kissam & Nancy Blecker, (in Cherry Valley) ,”Improvised Poetics” { editorial note – subsequently reprinted in Spontaneous Mind] …..done in 1968.  And then, 1967, about twenty-five pages– twenty pages – of conversations, laconic conversations, with Ezra Pound about the Cantos and about what he thought about life – All this has been published in Loka or … 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