[Bartholomeo Better (1639-1699) – oil on canvas – “Still Life With Instruments and Books”]
Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa class on John Milton (with assistance from Tom Schwartz) continues from here.
AG: I want to read one thing I’ve got here – [reads] – “One needs scarcely elaborate on Milton’s use of music or on his father’s musical accomplishment, He had contact with the most prominent musicians in England (both in English and Italian) through his father with Nicholas Lanier, (Thomas) Ravenscroft, (Alfonso) Ferrabosco, through the Comus production with Henry Lawes‘ – (he one long…he made … Read More
AG: So..what’s it? – the first lines are. “Of Man’s first Dis-“, – (that’s.., the accent falls on the fourth syllable) – Then “Of that forbid-den tree”- (four syllables) – “Brought death into the World” – (six. syllables) – “With loss of E-den” – (four syllables) – till one greater Man/Restore us, and … Read More
Tom Schwartz: There’s a very good book by F.T.Prince – The Italian Element in Milton’s Verse which is a nice short book which gets to the heart of the matter. Milton was very fascinated with Italian poets of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, just before him, Tasso, in particular, and the standard Italian line contained eleven syllables, and for various reasons, a ten-syllable line works in English (mainly because we don’t have so many vowels and we have heavier consonants) and, basically, wnat Milton prosody comes down to in the … Read More
AG: Now how dare we assume that it’s meant for speaking aloud anyway? (aside from all the evidence that I’ve been producing in the last four months, three months). Well, what we have is (John) Milton’s own book on that. And so, he’s got for Paradise Lost (not in your book but in a complete Paradise Lost), there’s a thing, a little preface he gives to Paradise Lost called “The Verse” – (and he’s telling about the verse-forms). So this was his particular scheme. Now he did Greek and Latin and he knew it real well and he wrote … Read More
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