The Decline of English Poetry

[William Cowper (1731-1800) – “… William Cowper, who was completely crazy …”]

Allen’s been discussing the poems of Robert Herrick

AG: There’s a nice, … but then, something that happens now, from here on out. It started. You got a shot of it in (John) Donne with that masochistic religion, and the interiorization of the spirit into some kind of deus ex machina outside, on the other side of the clouds, that’s supposed to come and rape your mind. And then, from then on, there’s all these different varieties..it gets squeezed..English poetry gets squeezed more and more into this … Read More

Allen Ginsberg Reading in Baltimore – 1978 – 3 (Contest of Bards)

vain3

[Väinämöinen in the Kalevala, the model for the Old Bard in Allen Ginsberg’s “Contest of Bards”]

continuing from last weekend

Allen presents, as the last part of his reading at the Maryland Institute College of Art, February 16. 1978, a complete reading of his recently-completed epic poem,  “Contest of Bards”

AG: (The poem was written in) 1977..so, just about a year and.. a year and a month ago, here in town. (in Baltimore) – -[Editorial note – Ginsberg also elsewhere noted that sections were written in Washington DC] It’s divided into three parts. and I had been reading all … Read More

Comprehensive Reading

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

AG: Edmund Spenser is a colossus, and he’s so big that I think we’ll go around him Except, maybe, one or two, one or two little short things – the Epithalamion – a big Leviathan poem here, marriage poem. What I would suggest is that you go home and read it. It’s got a great stanza form, it’s got a great rhythmic form. So what we might do (here) is read just the first and last stanzas, just to get the stanzaic form get a taste..  Page 162 – I’m sorry..

Well, he’s very brilliant in, you … Read More