[Allen Ginsberg reading and lecturing in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, 1993]
Allen’s new book, The Best Minds of My Generation, selections from Allen’s lectures (not to be confused with the lectures transcribed here on the Allen Ginsberg Project), “mercifully reduced to 455 pages, shorn of repetitions, student interventions and Ginsberg’s habit of beginning every sentence with “So” – (sic) – as the reviewer in the London Times would have it) continues to impress one and all.
Here’s an excerpt from Gaby Wood‘s review in London’s Daily Telegraph:
Cherry Blossom Season but we’re pretty certain that that colorful moment isn’t quite the kind of “cherry” that Allen’s talking about here.(Plus, that “Heart Failure” – ( “noisy Cherry got Heart Failure Blues”) – Old Age and Youth lying down together (“Heart Failure & Cherry, Cherry in my bed”). It’s one of the more obscure items from Allen’s voluminous catalog, but, hey, why not.
Cherry in Boulder, Cherry in San Francisco too/Cherry Boulder. old Cherry San Francisco too/But Cherry Boulder trembles more than Seattle do.
AG: But – wait a minute – but, if you did a little bit of work with Titos Sompa [Congolese-Californian teaching at Naropa] and [jazz-drummer] Jerry Granelli in analyzing, not analyzing, just learning, the basic Afric rhythms that they use ( you’ve heard them play, haven’t you?)
AG: Have you heard Titos Sompa? – What are their names, Titos and..?
AG: Bemba.. They are teaching basic African rhythms, (which are not very different from this kind of five.. five-beat rhythms – in fact, what they are … Read More
AG: So there’s tone and pitch and then there’s the long and short vowel, and then there’s a light and heavy accent. So there’s… Actually, Greek meters did consist in there.. that’s something interesting, these guys, particularly(Ben) Jonson, knew Greek, Greek meters consisted, as modern classicists classify them, (modern classicists classify them, Greek professors classify them), as – stress, accent and quantity (and that’s a little confusing, what’s stress and what’s accent?) – But, usually.. the terminology which is used nowadays, which has been useful for Greek… terminology used for analyzing Greek poetics (which would be useful to … Read More
Great news! – Omnivore Recordings, and Pat Thomas, (who gave us last year the extraordinary The Last Word on First Blues), are issuing, as a two-CD package, Allen Ginsberg’s The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience, is both a reissue of Allen’s original Blake release from 1969 on MGM, with the unreleased 1971 recording sessions that were to be Blake Volume 2. The release will include, along with the two CDs, a booklet featuring several unseen photos, alongside revealing new interviews, conducted by Thomas himself, with the original session musicians. Release-date is June 23.
[Artemis with a hind, better known as “Diana of Versailles”. Marble, Roman artwork, Imperial Era (1st-2nd centuries CE). Found in Italy]
AG: Okay, well, the next.. next poem, (Ben Jonson’s) “Queen and Huntress” is total silver horns, really, a meter that’s… this is, I guess, just.. this is the same rhythm as (William) Blake’s “Tyger, Tyger, basically, this is the trochaic meter (that I was pointing out here – [Allen again points to the blackboard ] – “Tyger/Tyger”, or, “Queen And/Hunt-ress”) – Well, “Queen, and huntress, /chaste and fair” – Got that? – bomb-a bomb-a bomb-a ba – … Read More
AG: Dochmiac, the dochmiac or dochmiac meter – D-O-C-H-M-I-A-C. However, when you reverse it like this [Allen shows on the blackboard] – where the two long feet or two (stresses) come first –ba-boom-boom ba-boom-boom – you get the hypo-dochmaic . Now this is a dochmaic or dochmaic meter (in) that form, and the one that we’re using (which you’ll come to again, so you might as well find out what this is … Read More
AG: So what do we want now? – (Ben Jonson’s) “Slow slow fresh fount” , Some of you here, What did you make of that? – Page two six-six – a couple of really pretty pieces of cadence (here) now.. I’ve never examined this song very carefully, except a couple of times it’s really struck me as being real.. just totally lovely music..
“Slow slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears;/Yet slower yet, O faintly, gentle springs!/List to the heavy part the music bears” – So it’s all about music, actually – the” division” here (“Woe weeps out … Read More
Sadly Allen’s “Hum Bom!” is all too pertinent and prescient ( “Whydja bomb?/We didn’t wanna bomb!/Whydja bomb?/We didn’t wanna bomb!”) – Lisa New, creator and host of Poetry in America, a new poetry intiative from Harvard, has just released the video above. – U2’s Bono reciting the poem and US poet-laureate Juan Felipe Herrera quoting and discussing it. Bono is, of course, a long time fan of Allen’s – see here – and Herrera too (we would have loved to hear Herrera’s reading) – but “Hum Bom!” is not an easy poem to read (despite seeming … Read More