“The Time of Composition”

[Rainer Maria Gerhardt (1927-1954)]
[Ted Berrigan (1934-1983)]
[Charles Olson (1910-1970)]
Student: Can I ask you a little bit of an off-the-wall question?
AG: Yes.. Why don’t we leave this time open now for just general…
Student: In our (Ted) Berrigan class  tonight, he said this comment that,  “The time of the composition is the time of the composition”…. (I’ve been trying to understand that)  and I’ve been trying all night.  And he says “Well, you should know that with every poem that you read, (before you start out).
AG: The time of  the composition is the time of the … Read More

Pound, Waller and The Wonder Breath

[“Oh!” ( the mouth open-wide, a “wonder-breath” – “Ah! – “Go!” – (Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky re Ezra Pound & Edmund Waller) – 1979 – Photograph by Desdemone Bardin]
AG: Well, if you..   I ‘d like to read that whole thing [Ezra Pound’s “Envoi“] once in..  just through, to get the variance from one stanza to another, because it seems that it’s surging, a very delicate surge from stanza to stanza that really concludes in a nice way – and it’s great music. In fact, why don’t we do it together?   this one.. … why don’t … Read More

Pound and Waller (“Go dumb-born book”)

[Ezra Pound]
[Edmund Waller]
AG: Then (Ezra) Pound (on page one thousand and six). He thinks it [Waller’s “Song”} ‘s so good that it’s his high-water mark, so he wants a... And, in Pound, it’s amazing, it’s one of the few cases in the history of English poetry where somebody made an imitation that’s really just as good as the original, because Pound’s “Envoi” of 1919 is actually as beautiful, I think, as the Waller [“Go, lovely rose] –
So “Go dumb-born book’ – but was..  it.. you know..  Pound’s specialty was this long.. was quantitative meter,
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More on Metrics – 4

AG:  Well, so we have “Go lovely..” and I was thinking – “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – “Tell her that wastes” (da da da da)  – “her time and me” – “Tell her that wastes her time and me”  – seems to be two halves, equally cadenced –  “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – and that would be da da da-da – That’s the epitritus tertius – “Tell her that wastes her time and me.”   If you were going to emphasize the more… not so much.. if you were going to be dwelling
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More on Metrics – 3

AG: Well, it’s not that that you need to be able to understand it [Greek prosody] to write a poem. It’s not perverting your speech to get those rhythms. Rather, it is that speech does have those rhythms, and that you can follow the cadences with those rhythms, that when we were taught in drama-school and high-school primary rhythms, it was very rare that anything was taught beyond the four variants of iamb, trochee, anapest and dactyl.  – that seemed to be the range of  the English ear, or awareness of rhythm, or American high-school awareness of rhythm, … Read More

More on Metrics – 2

[Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, 1956 – Photograph by Harry Redl]

Allen Ginsberg continues, lecturing his Naropa students on metrics

AG: “Moloch who’s eyes….. da da-da da, da-da da da , da-da da ,da-da da-da da, da-da.. And if you have a gang of choruses going bop-pa-pa-bom, bop-pa-pa-bom, you’ve got something very powerful going on And so, in.. without knowing it, just intuitively, I was using choriambic and variations of choriambic meters, in the Moloch section of “Howl” – “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – (da-da da da-da da da-da da da-da) – “thousand-blind-windows”, “thousand-blind-wind..” “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – So it’s a combination of choriambic … Read More

More on Metrics

[Allen Ginsberg’s classroom hand-out – “A Synopsis of Metrical Systems”]
continuing from here
Allen’s pedagogical insistence on quantative prosody, on the minutae of classical prosody, was something he came back to again and again with his students at Naropa  (see, for example  – one of many examples – here). In transcription, it makes, perhaps, for some somewhat tedious transcript – to hear the subtle and various distinctions he’s making, it really becomes necessary to listen closely to the audio (happily, here available). Allen does employ here a somewhat unique teaching method to lighten things up – … Read More

David Amram Remembers Jack Kerouac

[David Amram and Allen Ginsberg with Jack Kerouac and Larry Rivers at a diner –  during the making of Pull My Daisy, 1959 – Photograph by John Cohen]

Continuing our celebration of his 87th birthday

David Amram Remembers Jack Kerouac

This initial piece was originally written in 1969 for Evergreen Review, and published early in 1970 at the request of publisher Barney Rosset as an obituary for Kerouac

I used  to see Jack often at the old Five Spot in the beginning of 1957, when I was working there. I knew he was a writer, and all musicians knew … Read More

David Amram’s Birthday

[David Amram performing “Waltz After the Fall” via jackshalom]

David Amram celebrates his 87th birthday today

Recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from Kansas City’s Folk Alliance International.

Written and narrated by Scott Alarik, here‘s the video made specially for that occasion

and here‘s Nick Foster of Boulder, Colorado’s eTown interviewing David (from a couple of years back)

Here’s another interview  (from March of last year)

Here’s David from back in 2011, performing and talking about Kerouac

Offbeat -Collaborating With Kerouac, his memoir, was first published in 2002

His earlier memoir, Vibrations  The Read More

Edmund Waller’s “Song” – 3

 AG: So it’s interesting to figure this [Edmund Waller’s “Song” – “Go, lovely rose”] out as sound. Now this is one of the most compelling cadences and compelling rhythms, compelling rhythms  and cadences and musics in all of English poetic lyrics…lyric. And yet, it’s one of the most mysterious as far as the count. I guess you could count .. syllables probably – “Go, lovely rose” has four, “Tell her that’s young”, “Small is the worth”, “Then die—that she” – (apparently, all the first lines are four syllables) – “Tell her that wastes her time and me” – (Tell-her-that-wastes-her-time-and-me –
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