Vowels and Music – (Poundian Poetics)

continuing with Allen’s commentary in his 1980 Basic Poetics Naropa class on Ezra Pound’s Manifest”

AG: I was talking about it [about “melodic coherence” and Hart Crane’s “Atlantis”].  There’s partly some element of cadence – da da da da-da da da da –da – “O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits” – that’s the rhythmic cadence.   So melodic cadence of those vowels – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – “encintured sing/ In single chrysalis” – that’s melodic coherence – That make sense? Mel-o-dy? tune-al coherence

And “of the tone-leading of the vowels” -. “tone-leading of the vowels”  (… Read More

Allen Ginsberg – Richland College reading – part 2

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Richland College reading – continuing from yesterday

AG: So I would say now move on to.. 1956- moving on from 1956 to 1976. I have a series of poems which will require some music also – “Father Death Blues” – if we can get together on the stage –

My father died in 1976 in midsummer and I wrote a series of poems while he was alive because I spent a lot of time with him during the previous..during the winter that he was wasting, He was quite old and not in pain because it was a … Read More

Hart Crane’s “O Thou steeled Cognizance”

AG: Of “melodic coherence” – “O Thou steeled Cognizance” – that’s a line of Hart Crane – “O thou steeled Cognizance” – “O Thou steeled Cognizance” – “Oh-ow-ee-oo!” – “O Thou steeled Cognizance”  (it’s the beginning of a stanza of Hart Crane’s “Atlantis”

“O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits/The agile precincts of the lark’s return//Within whose lariat sweep encintured sing/ In single chrysalis the many twain;/Of stars/Thou art the stitch and stallion glow/And like an organ, Thou, with sound of doom – Sight, sound and flesh/ Thou leadest from time’s realm/As love strikes clear direction for the helm.”… Read More

Ezra Pound and “The Duration of Syllables”

[Ezra Pound (1885-1972)]

“If the verse makers of our time are to improve on their immediate precursors we must be vitally aware of the duration of syllables of melodic coherence, and of the tone leading of the vowels” (Ezra Pound)

AG: So now what is this?. “The duration of syllables” he (Pound) understands, how.. – (understands) long and short syllables – the idea of it. So he’s saying America should then try to begin to hear the difference between a long and short syllable.  In another place, he says that he thinks the direction of American poetry will be in … Read More

Ezra Pound’s Manifest

[Ezra Pound, Allen Ginsberg and Fernanda Pivano, Portofino, September 23, 1967 Photo: Ettore Sottsass]

AG: So here’s another comment on it (“To Mr Henry Lawes And His Airs”) – and then I’m comparing that with a little thing I saw copied out – “A Preface to Poems by Basil Bunting 1950, from the Cleaners Press, Galveston, Texas”, a brief essay by Ezra Pound which is also lost in leaves of history, never been reprinted, called “A Manifest As of 1950”, signed by a guy named Dallan Flynn, because, I think that Ezra Pound was by then … Read More

“Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song..”

[John Milton (1608-1674)]

[Henry Lawes (1596-1662)]

Allen Ginsberg’s 1990 Basic Poetics class at Naropa,  continuing from last week.

AG: On page three-two-four – “To Mr Henry Lawes on His Airs” – “Airs” – tomb – “Lawes and Jenkyns be thy guest…” – remember from Ezra Pound? Pisan Cantos? – “Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest/Dolmetsch ever be thy guest” – same  Henry Lawes, the musician – “Harry..”  (Henry Lawes)  (hey! Harry!)

“Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song/First taught our English music how to span/Words with just note and accents, not to scab/With Midas’ ears, committing  short … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 334

[Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg, c. 1977]

Patti Smith‘s new book Devotion has just come out (from Yale University Press) to mixed reviewsHere‘s Michael Lindgren’s review in The Washington Post .Here‘s Megan Volpert at Pop Matters. The book is an expanded version (though not so expanded) of her 2016 Winham-Campbell Lecture at Yale (for a section of that lecture – see here)

Grant Hart, drummer, vocalist and songwriter, who died a little over a week ago, on William Burroughs from an interview from back in 2000 for The Onion AV Club:

Interviewer:   … 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

Edmund Bolton’s Palinode – (2)

[“Temperance” from “The Allegory of Good and Bad Government” (c. 1338) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy]


As withereth the primrose by the river, As fadeth summer’s sun from gliding fountains, As vanisheth the light-blown bubble ever, As melteth snow upon the mossy mountains: So melts, so vanishes, so fades, so withers The rose, the shine, the bubble and the snow Of praise, pomp, glory, joy – which short life gathers – Fair praise, vain pomp, sweet glory, brittle joy. The withered primrose by the mourning river, The faded summer’s sun from weeping fountains, The … Read More

Henry King – 2 (Metrics)

[Henry King (1592-1689)]

continuing from yesterday

AG:  How is that (verse form).., let’s see, what would the meter be then,  I wonder..?  We don’t have the…It’s amazing – such a perfect poem and they don’t even have it in the anthology!

Student: Tetrameter?

AG:  “or like/the fresh/spring’s/gau/dy/hue/  Or silver drops/ of morning dew – It’s iambic tetrameter?

Student: (counts it out)  Yeah

AG:  Yeah, except it begins occasionally with a stressed word – “Like to the falling of a star”

Student: For…

AG: No, not that line. That line is reversed. You’re shifting it… “Like to/the falling/of a star”, … Read More