Bob Dylan’s Mother

[Bob Dylan, alongside his mother, Beatrice (“Beatty”) Rutman, at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, Washington DC,  1997]

AG: [speaking in 1980, to his Naropa students] – I had supper…  I had lunch with Bob Dylan’s mother  (It was funny ..). She was very plump. She goes in a house with wall-to-wall carpeting and plates on the wall, and little gimmicks and geegaws, and bowls that she picked up from her travels to Las Vegas, (or) Scottsdale, Arizona, where her daughter is… {editorial note -Allen is confused here, Dylan doesn’t have a sister, just a younger brother, Read More

Thomas Carew – (“Ask Me No More”)

[Thomas Carew (1595-1640)]

AG: And (Thomas) Carew has one of the prettiest cadences of repeated.. it’s like a.. it’s a very beautiful cadence, for the first line of page three-oh-one – A song – It’s (the cadence) –  da da-da da  da  da-da da – da  da-da da  da  da-da da – Da da-da da da – da-da da. It’s just really nice, that. “Ask me no more where Jove bestows,/When June is past, the fading rose;/For in your beauty’s orient deep/These flowers, as in their causes, sleep/ .Ask me no more whither do stray/The golden atoms of the day;/For … Read More

Revisiting Jack Kerouac’s Poems – 1

AG: We don’t have that (Jack) Kerouac poem, let’s see -Kerouac’s serious death shot (you know, mortality) was a poem that ends “Poor!  I wish I were…”  [“Poor! I wish I was..”] – Yeah, I got it, okay… number 211 (in Mexico City Blues)  – (the) 211th Chorus, in Kerouac.. Just to bring this up to “Like To The Falling of A Star” or the little (George) Herbert poem that we had wherein all died – “Virtue”? – “The root is ever in its grave/ And thou must die”, “My music shows ye have your closes,/ And … Read More

Peter Orlovsky Parinirvana

Peter Orlovsky’s Parinirvana.  Allen Ginsberg’s long-time companion, died, seven years ago, on this day.  Those who knew him will certainly never forget Peter. His remarkable and inspired book of poems, Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songs, idiosyncratic spellings and all, is quite like any other book of poems. His papers (now residing at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin) yielded the posthumous companion-piece Peter Orlovsky – A Life In Words.  There is also the sadly-out-of-print 1980 volume, Straight Hearts’ Delight. We’ve quoted from it before. Here’s another letter from Peter … Read More

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