Jack Kerouac Writes A Letter To Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando‘s birthday today. We figured we’d feature the classic letter (belatedly discovered)  written, circa 1957, to him by Jack Kerouac – “Dear Marlon, I’m praying you’ll buy On The Road and make a movie of it…”

Nothing sadly came of it. (“Brando is a shit, doesn’t answer letter from (the) greatest writer in America and he’s only a piddling king’s clown of the stage” (JK to AG, November 30. 1957))

[Jack Kerouac photo for Michael Grieg’s  “The Lively Arts in San Francisco”  article in the February 1957 issue of Mademoiselle magazine.]

[Marlon Brando (1924-2004)] – Photograph … Read More

Early Ginsberg – 2 – “Do We Understand Each Other?”

[“Over the road in an automobile/Rode I and my gentle love’]

AG: So then there was..an imitation of Herbert’s “Collar” – from George Herbert – Herbert – “Collar”  is.. (page) two ninety-four –and  three hundred –  “Love bade me welcome… ”  Now, in “The Collar”, you get… (two ninety-four, two ninety-five) –  Remember at the end, he says “But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild/ At every word,/ Methought I heard one calling, Child! /And I replied My Lord.” ? You remember that poem? Everybody? Most of you remember that?  Because that was, you remember, a poignant … Read More

Apollinaire’s Calligrammes & Metrical Conclusions

[Guillaume Apollinaire ( 1880-1918) by Picasso]

Continuing from yesterday

AG: … Then. Willliam Apollinaire (Guillaume Apollinaire), the Frenchman also did Calligrammes (so that would be.. the French name for that form is a calligramme – design on the page). He has one called “il pleut” which is …   “From the eaves… ” –  From..  (F-r-o-m. t-h-e-e-a-v-e-s -t-h-e-g-l-i-s-t-e-n-i-n-g-d-r-o-p-s -o-f -w-a-t-e-r-f-a-l-l-o-v-e-r – t-h-e-w-h-o-l-e-c-i-t-y) –  I don’t know  [Allen offers a translation] – “From the eaves the glistening raindrops falls down and drains over the whole city”.  You know and it’s all..  the lines are let down in strings from the … Read More

Pattern Poems – 1

AG: And then we have George Herbert  (that we got to.. ) [Allen begins searching in. the anthology] –  (now) where does he begin? – he begins after  (Henry) King... )  – “Easter Wings” – and, the Easter Wings, I guess you know  (or do you?)  that Dylan Thomas wrote things like that? – your friend, Dylan Thomas? – He wrote diamonds  [diamond-shaped poems]. He has..  Dylan Thomas has a series of poems that look like that – ever seen them? – and then, (like “Easter Wings”) – he was actually imitating Herbert – he also had … Read More

George Herbert Selections

A little out-of-order this – but here’s Allen’s George Herbert selection – remember George Herbert?)  (and some concluding remarks to his (April 1980) Naropa class)

AG: Okay, so next, I would have… (George) Herbert (page 285), check out Mr Herbert, similar to Herrick, as interesting as Herrick, but it’s a little more laden with God there, but some very amazing emotions come through, particularly, “The Collar”‘ (check out “The Collar”, the form), Check out the form of “Easter Wings” on page 285 as a precursor of shaped poetry, of what do you call it nowadays?  the…Concrete…pardon me? – … Read More

George Herbert – 10 – (“Misery” and “The Quiddity”)

[ “Man is but grasse/He knows it -. fill the glasse…” (George Herbert)]

AG: Okay, well, there’s a couple other poems (of George Herberts) that while we have time I’d like to check out with you. In the (W.H.) Auden anthology (that is to say, a book that I’ve mentioned a number of times to you as one of the great anthologies –Poets of the English Language Volume 2 – Marlowe to Marvell, Viking Press, there is “Misery”, a little thing called “Misery”, which has this very nice refrain. The whole poem I don’t want to go … Read More

George Herbert – 9 (“Love” – 2)

[Portrait of George Herbert in Bemerton by William Dyce (1806-1864)]

Allen Ginsberg continues to examine George Herbert’s poem “Love”

Student: Allen, isn’t there a sense, in that last bit, of a change from “My dear” to “I will serve you”?

AG: Yes, I was wondering what that means. I don’t understand that.

Student: Well, he seems to be feeling unworthy even though he’s..

AG: Oh yes, he’s been saying that all along

Student: He takes the heat off, Love takes the heat off. Obviously you’re worthy to be here because whatever sin you brought it was paid for by Christ … Read More

George Herbert – 8 (“Love” – 1)

[Rembrandt Van Rijn, “The Supper at Emmaus”  (1648)]

AG: So, (George Herbert’s)  “Love Bade Me Welcome”

“Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back Guilty of dust and sin./But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack/ From my first entrance in,/Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning, If I lacked any thing.” – (that’s pretty good, actually, he’s gotten into Love (whatever it is) and he’s gone slack, or he’s lost his.. lost the hardness of his impulse!)- “observing me grow slack/ From my first entrance in” – (for a divine poem, this is pretty raunchy, actually -except, it’s so … Read More

George Herbert -7 (“Death” – 2)

Allen Ginsberg and his Naropa students continue their discussion about George Herbert’s metaphysical poem, “Death”

Student; I love the reasoning (in the poem)….

AG: Well, it’s not so much reasoning. It’s just making up, you know, some funny ideas about death

Student: (Yeah, I know – (our close) relationship to death)

AG ; Yeah, well, it’s going to get worse before we’re out of the thicket. It seems to accompany the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the mills of thought begin grinding. This is.. what? Sixteen thirty-nine? . It’s the beginning, they’re exploiting America, you know, their bringing all … Read More

George Herbert – 6 – (“Death” – 1)

Allen Ginsberg on George Herbert continues

AG: However, when you get to “Death” on the next page. There. you get something almost Shakespearean. It’s so good, as far as its… And here what he’s done is got a stanza form which is – “Death thou wast once an un-couth hid-eous thing” – (ten) – “Nothing but bones” – (four) – “The sad effect of sadder groans” – (eight) – “Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing” – (ten) . So each stanza’s ten-four-eight-ten, in terms of the number of syllables. I haven’t analyzed it for what actual meter … Read More