AG: There is a poem of (John) Donne‘s which is not in the book which I would like to lay out. I think it may be his last poem or toward his last poem, his last, death, poem – “A Hymn to God The Father”, which doesn’t seem to be in this book, though it’s one of his best, in terms of puns. There is a late poem on death, at the end here (of your book), “Hymn To God In My Sickness, but I’ll read this other one because … Read More
From a March 1980 classroom, Allen Ginsberg and Naropa students discuss John Donne and the experience of love, ecstasy, and hallucinations – continued from yesterday
AG: No, it says that they’re one [the lovers in John Donne’s “The Ecstasy”]…they become one. Well, maybe everybody’s experience of love is different, but I’ve had the opportunity in the last few days (and other times too) to just lie a long time looking into someone’s eyes, you know, for hours preceeding the actual physical love-making, and there’s a kind of ethereal deliciousness that goes … Read More
Allen Ginsberg’s comments on John Donne’s “The Ecstasy” continues.
AG: So…. “That abler soul which hence doth flow/Defects of loneliness controls” – (controls the defect of being lonely – it’s just an inversion in the syntax there that makes it a little confusing – that love, that the abler soul controls loneliness’s defects ) –
“We then, who are this new soul, know” – (in other words,, they get smart,, they … Read More
Allen Ginsberg on John Donne’s “The Ecstacy” – continues
AG: “This ecstacy does unperplex/…and tell us what we love” – What “unperplex” means is that this ecstasy that we experience clears up, clears up the mystery. It wasn’t sex that we loved necessarily, directly. We had not seen before what was moving us when we thought it was just sex – “We see we saw not what did move” – before – (see-saw – that’s supposedly an example of (John) Donne‘s great wit – “We see we saw…” – da-da da-da – funny double-talk, like intellectual double-talk – but … Read More
AG: Okay so.. The only means we had to make us one was holding hands, and the ony propagation, or, you know, orgasm propagation, we had was pictures in our eyes. And so…where does it go on – “our souls” had gone out of their bodies and were hung between the two of them (on the top of page two forty one) – And while our … Read More
AG: [continues reading from the poem] – “Where, like a pillow on a bed/A pregnant bank swell’d up to rest/The violet’s reclining head,/Sat we two, one another’s best./Our hands were firmly cemented/With a fast balm, which thence did spring;/Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread/Our eyes upon one double string/;So to’intergraft our hands, as yet/ Was all the means to make us one,/And pictures in our eyes to … Read More
AG: “The Ecstasy” (by John Donne) is a great example of logopoeia, and that’s quite a thing (to Student) – Could you read that maybe? Are you familiar with “The Ecstasy..?”
Student: Yes.. The whole poem?
AG: Yeah, why not, it’s a great poem. It’s a classic poem.. the.. It’s like the.. I suppose, in the time that Donne was considered the greatest, this was supposed to be the acme of Donne, “The Ecstacy”
AG : “A Valediction..(Forbidding Mourning)” (by John Donne) (page two-thirty-nine). That was like… here you find a..the acme of Donne in his use of images from cartography, compasses and spheres, and.. and I think that, like, is nowadays you have heavy-metal comix, or (William) Burroughs‘ poetry which has a lot of space-age imagery (android space-age martian heavy-metal). So, in those days, because of the adventures in America reported back, there’s a lot of.. everybody was hung up on the sort of apocalyptic imagery of a New World, and sailing, and making maps. There’s a … Read More
Allen Ginsberg on John Donne’s “Sweetest love, I do not go..” continued
Peter Orlovsky: .”Thus by frightened deaths to die.” – What does that mean?
AG: “Feigned death”
Peter Orlovsky: .”Thus by… .feign’d death?
AG: Imitation death – to feign is to imitate. Death…incidentally, death throughout (not throughout) but in some of these erotic or love poems by Donne, “a little death”, is an orgasm, often, or it’s the local… I think there’s a little footnote on it – [Allen looks to the footnote for “feign’d“] – …”It was frequently used (with) an apostrophe between words that gave the neighboring … Read More