George Herbert – 9 (“Love” – 2)

[Portrait of George Herbert in Bemerton by William Dyce (1806-1864)]

Allen Ginsberg continues to examine George Herbert’s poem “Love”

Student: Allen, isn’t there a sense, in that last bit, of a change from “My dear” to “I will serve you”?

AG: Yes, I was wondering what that means. I don’t understand that.

Student: Well, he seems to be feeling unworthy even though he’s..

AG: Oh yes, he’s been saying that all along

Student: He takes the heat off, Love takes the heat off. Obviously you’re worthy to be here because whatever sin you brought it was paid for by Christ … Read More

George Herbert – 8 (“Love” – 1)

[Rembrandt Van Rijn, “The Supper at Emmaus”  (1648)]

AG: So, (George Herbert’s)  “Love Bade Me Welcome”

“Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back Guilty of dust and sin./But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack/ From my first entrance in,/Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning, If I lacked any thing.” – (that’s pretty good, actually, he’s gotten into Love (whatever it is) and he’s gone slack, or he’s lost his.. lost the hardness of his impulse!)- “observing me grow slack/ From my first entrance in” – (for a divine poem, this is pretty raunchy, actually -except, it’s so … Read More

George Herbert -7 (“Death” – 2)

Allen Ginsberg and his Naropa students continue their discussion about George Herbert’s metaphysical poem, “Death”

Student; I love the reasoning (in the poem)….

AG: Well, it’s not so much reasoning. It’s just making up, you know, some funny ideas about death

Student: (Yeah, I know – (our close) relationship to death)

AG ; Yeah, well, it’s going to get worse before we’re out of the thicket. It seems to accompany the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the mills of thought begin grinding. This is.. what? Sixteen thirty-nine? . It’s the beginning, they’re exploiting America, you know, their bringing all … Read More

Studs Terkel interviews Allen Ginsberg, 1976 – part two

Allen Ginsberg and Studs Terkel continuing from here

[At approximately half-way through their conversation, approximately thirty-two minutes in, Allen sings “Gospel Noble Truths” (“Born in this world, you’ve got to suffer..”) making several improvised additions –  (“no permanent soul!”,  “the dharma chakra”,  “Look what you’ve done – 1968” – “Let go, Studs!”)

AG: You looked like you didn’t want to “let go” of  “earth heaven and hell” there!.

ST: And as Ned Kelly, the bandit, said, before they hanged him, and they sprang the trap –  “That’s life! “. You said,  “Die when you die”. I was about to … Read More

Studs Terkel Interviews Allen Ginsberg, 1976 – part one

[Studs Terkel (1912-2008)]

We’ve already featured the classic 1959 Studs Terkel  WFMT radio interview with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso in seven sections – here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

We also featured Allen and Philip Glass on Studs Terkel’s show in 1990 – here and here

We’ll be featuring, in the coming weeks, a third, a 1975 session with Allen and William Burroughs

but, first, this weekend, this, (courtesy George Drury and the remarkable trove which is the Studs Terkel Radio Archive) – Allen Ginsberg’s interview … Read More

George Herbert – 6 – (“Death” – 1)

Allen Ginsberg on George Herbert continues

AG: However, when you get to “Death” on the next page. There. you get something almost Shakespearean. It’s so good, as far as its… And here what he’s done is got a stanza form which is – “Death thou wast once an un-couth hid-eous thing” – (ten) – “Nothing but bones” – (four) – “The sad effect of sadder groans” – (eight) – “Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing” – (ten) . So each stanza’s ten-four-eight-ten, in terms of the number of syllables. I haven’t analyzed it for what actual meter … Read More

John Donne – 15 (Conclusion)

Allen Ginsberg on John Donne concludes

AG: There is a poem of (John) Donne‘s which is not in the book which I would like to lay out. I think it may be his last poem or toward his last poem, his last, death, poem – “A Hymn to God The Father”, which doesn’t seem to be in this book, though it’s one of his best, in terms of puns. There is a late poem on death, at the end here (of your book), “Hymn To God In My Sickness, but I’ll read this other one because … Read More

John Donne continues – 9

[Gustav Klimt – The Kiss (Lovers)  (1907-08) – oil and gold leaf on canvas, 180cm x 180 cms, Osterreichische Gaerlerie Belvedere, Vienna]

Allen Ginsberg on John Donne’s “Ecstacy” continues – part 2

AG:  [continues reading from the poem] – “Where, like a pillow on a bed/A pregnant bank swell’d up to rest/The violet’s reclining head,/Sat we two, one another’s best./Our hands were firmly cemented/With a fast balm, which thence did spring;/Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread/Our eyes upon one double string/;So to’intergraft our hands, as yet/ Was all the means to make us one,/And pictures in our eyes to … Read More

John Donne continues – 8

screenshot-2017-02-28-19-22-09

[John Donne statue at St Paul’s Cathedral]

Allen Ginsberg on John Donne continues 

AG: “The Ecstasy” (by John Donne) is a great example of logopoeia, and that’s quite a thing (to Student) – Could you read that maybe? Are you familiar with “The Ecstasy..?”

Student: Yes.. The whole poem?

AG: Yeah, why not, it’s a great poem. It’s a classic poem.. the.. It’s like the.. I suppose, in the time that Donne was considered the greatest, this was supposed to be the acme of Donne, “The Ecstacy”

Student: Well, I don’t know.. It was considered..

AG: It was considered..?

Student: … Read More

John Donne (continues – 7)

john_donne_bbc_news

[ John Donne (1572-1631)]

AG : “A Valediction..(Forbidding Mourning)”  (by John Donne) (page two-thirty-nine). That was like… here you find a..the acme of Donne in his use of  images from cartography, compasses and spheres, and.. and I think that, like, is nowadays you have heavy-metal comix, or (William) Burroughs‘ poetry which has a lot of space-age imagery (android space-age martian heavy-metal). So, in those days, because of the adventures in America reported back, there’s a lot of.. everybody was hung up on the sort of apocalyptic imagery of a New World, and sailing, and making maps. There’s a … Read More